The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have decided today that the Griquas and Pumas will be the two teams put forward to join the Anglo-Welsh Cup in the 2018-19 season, per RugbyPass sources.
RugbyPass exclusively revealed on October 9th that SARU were in advanced stages of talks centred around committing two teams to the development tournament, before a further exclusive on October 24th that the Griquas and Pumas were the two leading candidates for the spots.
At SARU’s general council meeting today, the union rubber-stamped its preferred candidates and whilst there were strong bids from several Currie Cup First Division teams, who were keen to band together and form composite sides, it was the bids from the two Currie Cup Premier Division teams that won out.
The decision was made by SARU’s Executive Council before being ratified at the general council, rather than being put to a vote, with the bids from the Griquas and Pumas deemed the strongest.
The Griquas, who call Kimberley home, play at the 11,000-seater Griqua Park, whilst the Pumas, who reside in Nelspruit, play at the 40,929-seater Mbombela Stadium, with infrastructure one of the key strengths in their respective bids.
It will also expose the regions of Northern Cape and Mpumalanga Province to a new competition, leaving North West and Limpopo as the only provinces without international representation in one of Super Rugby, Guinness PRO14 or the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Both sides’ places in the Currie Cup Premier Division were also key, with the competition’s schedule potentially being cut in half from next season, as the Griquas and Pumas look to participate in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, as well as the Cheetahs and Southern Kings being committed to the PRO14. That decision is also on the table at the general council meeting today.
There has been no official release from SARU or Premier Rugby Limited yet, but it looks as if today is another big step forward in the South African rugby’s attempt to further involve themselves in European rugby and move away from their traditional southern hemisphere alignment.
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