Leinster 15-8 favourites for expanded Pro14
Cheetahs and Southern Kings join Celtic and Italian sides
Pro14 starts Friday September 1
Organisers confirmed on Tuesday that the Pro12 will be expanded to a Pro14 from this season with the addition of the two South African outfits who were dropped by Super Rugby, the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.
Leinster are 15-8 favourites with Betway for a club competition that has been revamped into two regular-season conferences of seven teams before a six-team finals series. Munster are 3-1 second-favourites, with champions Scarlets 11-2. The Cheetahs are one of four teams at 11-1 and the Southern Kings are 16-1 shots.
Fixtures are yet to be confirmed but it will be a 21-round regular season which retains all traditional derbies as home-and-away battles (plus one more meeting in the case of the Scottish, South African and Italian sides).
Conference victors will host home semi-finals against the winners of cross-conference second v third battles (with the higher seed at home).
It is believed that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will do their away matches in blocks and visitors to South Africa will play back-to-back games if they have two southern-hemisphere trips scheduled.
Pro14 Conference A: Connacht, Munster, Cardiff, Ospreys, Glasgow, Zebre, Cheetahs; Conference B: Leinster, Ulster, Dragons, Scarlets, Edinburgh, Treviso, Southern Kings.
Betway - Pro14 Grand Final winner: 15-8 Leinster, 3 Munster, 11-2 Scarlets, 11 Cheetahs, Glasgow, Ospreys, Ulster, 16 Southern Kings, 40 Cardiff, 50 Connacht, 100 Edinburgh, 1,000 Treviso, 1,500 Dragons, 3,000 Zebre. Each-way terms 1/3 1,2.