South African teams add 'good slant' to Pro14
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs and Southern Kings have shown the value South African teams can add to the Pro14 competition, believes Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill.
The Southern Kings have announced that they have halted all rugby for the rest of 2020 meaning they won’t partake in South Africa’s domestic competition nor the Pro14.
The Europe-based tournament already made plans to cut Cheetahs and Southern Kings from the 2020 season due to travel restriction and organisers remain optimistic that the sides will rejoin the league in 2021.
Various media reports have speculated that the Cheetahs and Kings could be ‘sacrificed’ to make room for South Africa’s four big franchises in an expanded European competition.
While the Kings’ latest financial state is certainly a valid reason to give them the boot, their peers the Cheetahs have been a good addition to the Pro14.
In the Bloemfontein-based team’s first season, they managed to secure a place in the 2017/18 quarterfinals.
“It’s a disappointment really,” Cockerill told the Scotsman about the news regarding Kings and Cheetahs
“You want all teams to be viable. It was a good competition having the South African sides in. It’s for the league to decide and they’re the guys in charge and know better than me,” he said.
“I think the South African sides have brought a good slant on the competition, good to go and travel there and play at different venues. Obviously it’s been mooted that there may be other South African teams joining the competition.”
He added: “Cheetahs have been very strong when they have played in the competition and pushed teams hard and been in playoffs,” he said.
“For Kings, it’s been difficult. It’s hard when you are the sixth franchise in South Africa. When you haven’t got that much money then it’s always going to be difficult.”
Source: The Scotsman