PRO14 chiefs will deliver a fixture list for the 2020-21 season later today – and have confirmed South African teams won’t take part until 2021.
That news came as no surprise given that a month ago it was disclosed that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings would not be able to travel to Ireland, Scotland or Wales until next year due to current international restrictions.
However, PRO14 bosses did state that they are in “on-going” discussions with South Africa Rugby about expanding the tournament to include their other pro franchises within two years.
Since the Springboks’ World Cup triumph it has been speculated that the PRO14 could be expanded to include top South African sides Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions – and that could now be on the cards from 2022.
“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,” read a PRO14 statement.
“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”.