There has been speculation that the 2 SA Super franchises that are likely to be culled may ask to join the Pro12. This follows suggestions that the Pro12 has been looking to expand their competition, possibly into North America.
For the first time yesterday an announcement was made to the media with regard to the Cheetahs –
Both the Cheetahs and the Pro12 have denied that a formal invitation (or request) has been made, but both have acknowledged that discussions between the stakeholders are under way –
On the basis that there’s no smoke without fire it seems more than probable that both sides will want to try and reach a deal as they believe it will increase their revenue opportunities through increasing the marketability of the Pro12 league.
They may well be right too – assuming an equable deal and an improved broadcast deal can be progressed.
It is bound to wind up the ARU though – who are having major problems in sorting out the culling of an Australian Super Rugby franchise.
Whilst there are opportunities for the Cheetahs and possibly the Kings to stay in an international tournament, no such option appears to be available for Australia because of the travel problem.
If the SA teams do agree to join the Pro12 it will also cut off the Sanzaar potential for a two division format for Super Rugby.