Details of the new format for the Pro14 are expected this week with the news getting a mixed reaction in both Wales and Scotland.
It is also anticipated that at least one team from North America will be added for 2018/9.
There is however one issue that I don’t think has even been raised as yet – if either the Kings or Cheetahs (or both) finish in the top 7 at the end of the season, do they qualify for the Champions Cup?
Allowing the South African teams to enter the tournament is not a unilateral decision the Pro12 League board can take. It requires agreement from France and England, as the current wording allows only for “clubs whose national teams compete in the Six Nations,” to play in Europe. That is an obstacle for the Cheetahs and Kings.
Having said that it, may not be a problem if SH rugby competitions become less attractive for the South African franchises – and even the Springboks.
They may well look North for international competition.
There was also a further development reported in Rapport, an Afrikaan Sunday paper –
Reports in South Africa are indicating four of the country’s domestic provincial outfits could feature in Anglo-Welsh competition.
According to Rapport, the development was revealed by South African rugby representatives during a presentation to the 14 provincial unions earlier this month.
If the plans come to fruition it will mean four Currie Cup sides joing an expanded cross-border competition, with Northern Cape Province side Griques and Nelspruit-based Pumas said to be two of them.
The Anglo-Welsh cup features top Premiership and Welsh sides, although most use the competition to rest top players and give experience to academy and other squad players.
It doesn’t even have a sponsor at present.
However, these noises are an indication that South Africa are seriously considering the opportunities offered by Northern Hemisphere rugby. This is further evidenced by another report from SA –
Meanwhile, a well-placed source told Business Day two other South African Super Rugby franchises had expressed interest in playing in the Pro 12. They will be monitoring how the competition unfolds to decide whether they request a move north when the current Super Rugby deal ends in 2020.