Cheetahs & Kings could be 'trailblazers' for SARU

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 16:15

REACTION: The Cheetahs and Southern Kings could pave the way for more South African teams to dump SANZAAR and head north.

It was confirmed on Friday that the Cheetahs and the Kings are the two teams to be axed from Super Rugby in 2018.

As was stated numerous times by rugby365 - including in our latest podcast - the Cheetahs and Kings are likely to join the revamped Pro12 (likely to be renamed the Pro14) as early as September.

However, more significantly, they could also compete in other European competitions - the Champions and Challenge Cup tournaments.

This revelations was made by South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux, when he explained the reasoning and process that resulted in the Cheetahs and Kings stepping away from Super Rugby.

"We are very grateful towards the Kings and the Cheetahs," Roux told a media briefing, adding: "We endorse their strategic drive towards other competitions, diversity in where we play and possible proof of concept of whether a venture into the north is viable for South Africa."

Roux was adamant that the two franchises were not "pushed".

"I can categorically state that no one was forced into this process," the SARU boss said.

He added that the Cheetahs and Kings "voluntary" made the decision.

"They all have agreements in place till 2019," he said, adding: "They could have put their foot down and challenged those agreements in court."

While Roux was reluctant to reveal exactly what competitions the Kings and Cheetahs may enter, he admitted and expanded Pro12 (or Pro12) is not the only venture on the table.

"What I can confirm is that there is negotiations about competitions in the north."

He said these negotiations are "extremely far" down the line.

"They could play in the same competition or more than one competitions," Roux said, adding that SARU is making the right strategic moves.

"We have never had proof of concept and we don't know if that is going to work, in terms of viewership and spectators.

"Are people interested in seeing us playing Toulon or Toulouse?

"We have looked at South African [TV] viewership [of European competitions] in terms of Sunday matches and the numbers are scary.

"We have an inclination that, that might work.

"This will allow us to look at our own structures, possibly in the spreading of our own players.

"We can get our franchises to work together and spread the players across the board."

Roux also said the quality of the game the north should not be underestimate."


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