WRU outlines fears over speculated PRO14 expansion plan
Speculation has been rife that the Guinness PRO14 is set for an expansion, recent media reports in South Africa claiming that the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers could be drafted into the five-country tournament at the expense of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.
With doubts existing over whether the traditional Super Rugby tournament format following the start-up of separate events in New Zealand and Australia, it has been alleged that isolated South Africa have been pondering whether to completely throw their lot in long term with the PRO14.
There has been South African participation in the Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh league since 2017 after the then PRO12 invited the Cheetahs and Kings to join after they were both cut from the Super Rugby set-up.
With rugby around the world now in a state of flux, multiple ideas have been mooted for its rejuvenation. However, allowing even more South African sides into the PRO14 has been warned against by WRU boss Gareth Davies who claimed expansion is not guaranteed to be a success judging by how Super Rugby suffered after it ballooned to 18 teams.
Speaking on the BBC website, Davies said: “The only thing to be mindful of is more isn’t always better as we’ve seen in Super Rugby. It has gone bigger and bigger and perhaps isn’t of the appeal it once was.
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“It [South African inclusion in the PRO14] has added a bit of quality and interest. I suppose the attraction of the four top South African provincial sides where you can see the like of Siya Kolisi (South Africa World Cup-winning captain) and all the other guys does have an appeal if it would happen.
“A lot of water under the bridge would have to happen and it’s a lot of speculation and it’s important to say nothing has come from PRO14. Apart from that speculation I not aware of any sort of concrete information.”
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