The future of South Africa in Super Rugby looks set to be over as the federation’s chief executive, Jurie Roux, appeared to confirm the country will no longer be involved in the competition and will instead be switching to the PRO14.
Reports from Sport24 suggest that sports ministers in South Africa have been informed that only four South African teams would be viable to enter the northern competition – the PRO14 – due to economic constraints.
This means the Cheetahs and the Kings would be at risk of being cut from the PRO14, despite the fact they are contracted to play in the competition until 2023.
For the South African teams, the move seems to make sense. With a manageable time difference, fans would not have to wake up at strange hours to watch away games. However, with flights taking upwards of 12 hours on some airlines, will fans be willing to take the journey regularly throughout the season?
The South African teams would be more than accustomed to the long journeys, with a trip up north being significantly shorter than the 15-hour flight to Australia or New Zealand.
South African fans, though, have not all appeared to be open to the idea of their teams playing in the PRO14. Some are favouring a move to strengthen domestic competition in the Currie Cup.
If I could have an early Christmas wish, it would be for a full strength Currie Cup to recapture the imagination of the SA Rugby public, so that SA Rugby would be forced to drop this Pro14 nonsense
— Great South African Rugby Quiz (@Gr8SARugbyQuiz) August 29, 2020
Anyone who thinks that games counting in the Currie Cup and a PRO16 would be insurmountably confusing clearly never had to untangle the web that was Kukri Qualifying 2 and Conference league fixtures.
— Jonathan Bradley (@JBradleyBT) August 29, 2020
The Springboks have made a name for themselves in the rugby world for their attritional game plan focusing on the high ball and their work rate in defence. This game plan would appear to suit the PRO14 competition rather the expansive play of Super Rugby.
With the Stormers boasting the highest contingent of Springbok players, we could very well soon see a South African Supr Rugby team challenging the likes of Leinster and Glasgow for the title.
This looks bleak… https://t.co/ksNuKboRQG
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 25, 2020
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now