The Cheetahs could lose Super Rugby status after all, according to reports coming out of South Africa.
According to Times Live the Cheetahs, Kings and Melbourne Rebels are the likely casualties in the reduction of Super Rugby.
The South African publication reported the news after SANZAAR met in London last week to find ways to drastically change the competition to combat dwindling interest. There has been public outcry and lack of viewership due to the complicated conference system as well as weak sides in the tournament.
The Cheetahs chief executive Harold Verster said earlier in the week that his franchise would keep their Super Rugby status.
“All I can say is that we are safe. I keep my ear to the ground,” he reportedly told Netwerk24.
“There was even speculation that we would return to a Super 12, but my information is that we are going to be reduced from the current 18 to 16 teams, which means the Cheetahs are safe.”
But SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos told Times Live that there would be a massive restructuring of the tournament.
“Following two days of robust discussion there are a number of tournament considerations that now require further discussion and consultation,” said Marinos.
“This includes final consultation within the National Unions and discussion with key stakeholders that would allow the adoption of future changes proposed by the strategic plan.
“SANZAAR will make a formal statement on the future of the organisation, Super Rugby and the tournament format in the coming days once these further meetings have been concluded.”
The Kings’ head seems to be the first in line for the guillotine after numerous failings. While the Rebels and Cheetahs can’t seem to find tournament success as well as financial gains.
SANZAAR are still to release their plan, but the Jaguares and Sunwolves will apparently be safe under the new structure.