VIDEO: Euro Cup carrot for SA franchises
WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White talks about the prospect of South African teams getting access to the European Cup.
It has been reported that SA Rugby is working hard, behind the scenes, to secure a pathway for the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into Europe’s premier competition – the Champions Cup.
Media reports in recent weeks suggest “advanced talks” are underway for the four SA franchises to qualify for the two major European competitions – top-tier Champions Cup and second-tier Challenge Cup – through qualification in the newly-formed Pro16.
The Pro16 is only set to get underway in September, which means SA teams will only qualify for the 2022/23 season.
Unless there is a change in format and the SA teams get a free passage for the 2021/22 season.
Jake White, the Bulls’ Director of Rugby, admitted that there are whispers of such a pathway for the SA teams.
White said he does not have all the details, even though access to the European Cup for SA teams has been mentioned in boardroom talks.
“Nothing has been formalised,” the Bulls boss said.
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“Everybody is pushing that long-term, that there is some way for us [SA teams] to get into Europe.
“I am hoping this [the proposed Pro16 competition] can be one of the avenues through which we can do it.”
He reiterated that nothing has been put in writing, but pointed out South Africa’s participation in the Rainbow Cup and Pro16 is a clear indication of the desire to play in the European Cup.
“We need to ensure we are good enough so that if we do get invited, then we can do well,” White said.
“It is definitely something all the South African teams want.”
The Bulls boss also pointed out the monetary value of playing in Europe, where the financial carrot of the Champions Cup means qualification becomes vital.
“There is a massive monetary incentive to play in that [European Cup] competition.
“It is also a chance for you to measure yourself against the best teams in the world.”