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Pro14: SA Rugby in talks to add more teams to European competition

The Guinness Pro14 have confirmed that they are in talks with SA Rugby over adding more South African teams to the competition.

When the tournament expanded in 2017 to include two South African teams, the Cheetahs and Southern Kings took their place in the Pro14, but it seems that another change is in store for the competition which started life as the Welsh–Scottish League in 1999.

Kings out of Pro14

The Cheetahs and Kings were forced to withdraw from the 2020/21 Pro14 season due to travel restrictions.

The Pro14 season will kick-off on Friday 2 October with Parma hosting the first fixture of the term against the Cardiff Blues at the Stadio Ennio Tardini in Italy.

The Pro14 Conferences will remain the same as for the 2019/20 season in the upcoming campaign in keeping with their two-year rotation of the tables.

SA Rugby in talks to add more teams to Pro14

The Kings will be replaced in the 2021 edition having been liquidated by SA Rugby, and the tournament organisers have confirmed plans are afoot to add additional South African franchises.

“SA Rugby’s long-standing commitments are to field two teams in the Pro14 and in light of the withdrawal of the Southern Kings, discussions are on-going about fulfilling this agreement from 2021 using a replacement team from its current professional franchises,” Pro14 Rugby said in a statement.

“Additionally, both Pro14 Rugby and SA Rugby are in early discussions about potentially expanding the tournament and deepening our partnership to include more South African franchises from 2021.”

SA Rugby exploring their options

The pandemic has seemingly accelerated the South African game’s drift away from Super Rugby.

New Zealand Rugby has made it clear that they would like to see South Africa and Argentina cut from Super Rugby which itself might undergo massive changes in name and format.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux has admitted that the organisation have been investigating their options for the future.

“Ultimately, we can’t project what rugby will look like in years to come, and to do that would be very bold and brave because the only thing you can be sure of is that there will be change. I wouldn’t be doing my job not to look at Plan B or Plan C,” Roux said earlier this year.

With so many Springboks based in Europe, alignment with their rugby calendar could have significant benefit for South African Rugby.

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