It is expected that the Pro12 will formally announce the inclusion of the Cheetahs and the Kings in next year’s league.
This is the worst kept secret since Eric Pickles came out that he liked pies!
The suggestion is that the structure will have two conferences of 7 teams with no more than 2 teams from each country in each.
The only way to make this fair is to split the Italian, Scottish and South African teams – with each one having 2 x Welsh; 2 x Irish and one each from Italy, Scotland and South Africa.
This way it would help to avoid the nonsense that has happened in Super Rugby.
The problem however, is that this would reduce the number of derby games in each conference and increase the amount of travel for each side.
The hope will be that the increased revenue from TV will offset any loss of gate money following the removal of traditional rivalries.
Based on last season’s standings the possible make-up could be –
Conference 1 – Munster, Scarlets, Ulster, Blues, Edinburgh, Zebre and either the Cheetahs or Kings
In Conference 2 it might be Leinster, Ospreys, Glasgow, Connacht, Treviso, Dragons and again, either the Cheetahs or the Kings.
The play-offs would then be for the top 2 from each.
The problem of only 12 games guaranteed for each team in the regular season (compared to the current 22) may play well for player welfare but not gate receipts.
Of course it could follow the Scottish Premiership football with 2 home and away for each side would give 24 games but would be heavy on travel and expenses.
The final decision for the structure will be interesting, especially later when it is rumoured that teams from North America could be added.