The PRO14’s organisers have confirmed they are in negotiations regarding the increase of the number of South African teams in the tournament.
The competition was known as the PRO12 until 2017 when the Cheetahs and Southern Kings were added to form the PRO14. However, the coronavirus pandemic means the Cheetahs will be unable to take part in the 2020/21 competition until January, while the Kings have entered administration.
South African clubs have been part of the Super Rugby tournament for several years but after New Zealand Rugby revealed plans for a new Super Rugby model without the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions, the South African franchises were forced to look elsewhere.
The PRO14’s organisers issued a statement on Wednesday regarding South African participation in the competition.
“On August 25, PRO14 Rugby acknowledged that under current international travel restrictions it is not possible for South African teams to fulfil Guinness PRO14 fixtures until 2021,” the statement read.
“PRO14 Rugby welcomes the news that the South African Rugby Union (SA Rugby) has been able to arrange a domestic schedule for its professional teams and that this is the first step in the return of their teams to on-field action.
“SA Rugby’s long-standing commitments are to field two teams in the Guinness PRO14 and in light of the withdrawal of the Southern Kings, discussions are on-going about fulfilling this agreement from 2021 using a replacement team from its current professional franchises.
“Additionally, both PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby are in early discussions about potentially expanding the tournament and deepening our partnership to include more South African franchises from 2021.”