THE Dragons' campaign in the Guinness PRO14 will end in March with Dean Ryan's men then entering the newly-formed Rainbow Cup with South Africa's four big hitters.

The PRO14 got up and running in October without the two current South African teams, the Southern Kings and Cheetahs.

It will finish as a PRO12 and tournament chiefs have ambitiously planned the introduction of the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers in April despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The PRO14 will finish with a final in March with five more regular season fixtures in 2021 after the three festive derbies to enable Champions Cup qualification to be sorted.

The Dragons will be in action from February 20 to March 20, with the two conference leaders then playing for the title the following weekend.

South Wales Argus: 29.02.20 - Dragons v Cheetahs - Guinness PRO14 - Matthew Screech of Dragons is tackled by Gerhard Olivier of Cheetahs.29.02.20 - Dragons v Cheetahs - Guinness PRO14 - Matthew Screech of Dragons is tackled by Gerhard Olivier of Cheetahs.

Ryan's squad will have a total of 16 regular season games and will be aiming to qualify for the Champions Cup after returning to the premier tournament for the first time in the decade this season.

They currently sit fourth in Conference A, level on points with the Ospreys and with a game in hand.

The Dragons will then have a month of recovery before the European teams lock horns with the South African quartet from April 17 with two pools of eight teams consisting of pair from Wales, Ireland and South Africa and an Italian and Scottish club.

Teams will play one fixture against their pool rivals with the leaders facing off in a final on June 19.

"At a time where our sport has faced its greatest challenge, we have promising news about an innovative solution to partner with South African rugby ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour," said PRO14 chief executive Martin Anayi.

"It was vital that we worked with all parties to ensure our 12 teams had a clear road towards European qualification.

"With a Lions tour in South Africa to come it is hard to think of anything better to whet the appetite than the best players from the Celtic regions competing against World Cup-winning Springboks in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup."

The announcement has been made amid increasingly stringent travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rainbow Cup will see each South African team play three away games in Europe in blocks while all European sides will face a solitary fixture in South Africa.

Tournament chiefs will have to ensure that fixtures can be played safely.

"PRO14 Rugby is in continuous discussion about Covid-19 protocols with our Medical Advisory Group, made up from our chief medical officers across the Irish, Italian, Scottish, South African and Welsh rugby unions," read a statement.

"The information and resources available to protect our teams is always improving and the group will continue to provide direction based on the latest guidance available at the time."