The advantages of SA's move north
SPOTLIGHT: Confirmation of South Africa’s move to a European-based competition will raise many questions about the pros and cons.
The SA Rugby Union voted Tuesday in favour of the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers seeking entry to an expanded Pro14 competition.
The Cheetahs will now move from the Pro14 and become SA Rugby’s sole representative in a new Trans-Tasman competition.
In a statement, SARU said the decision was taken by the 13 voting member unions at a specially convened meeting to determine international participation and competition formats in a COVID-impacted rugby environment.
The Border Rugby Union – which is under administration – currently has its voting powers suspended.
The day before SA’s Director of Rugby and 2019 World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus said there would be a number of advantages if the ‘big four’ joined Pro rugby.
“The first benefit is for rugby followers who will be able to watch matches at normal times,” he said during a virtual media conference.
(Article continues below audio … )
South Africans have had to watch matches from New Zealand and Japan before breakfast, from Australia in mid-morning and from Argentina after midnight.
Turning to players and coaches, he said: “You can get on a plane, sleep on it and play the next day.
“That is nice from our planning and for broadcasters as well.
“There are regular flights that you can get to every destination.”
The widest time difference between South Africa and Britain and Ireland is two hours for six months each year, compared with 11 hours for New Zealand.
Erasmus said there would also be some disadvantages in swapping Super Rugby for the PRO version, but did not elaborate.