Southern Kings winger Malcolm Jaer. Picture: REUTERS
Southern Kings winger Malcolm Jaer. Picture: REUTERS

SA Rugby on Friday confirmed that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings have been axed from Super Rugby and will “explore other international competition opportunities”.

It was an unsurprising statement after an April meeting of South Africa‚ New Zealand‚ Australia and Argentina Rugby (Sanzaar) in London took the decision to downscale Super Rugby from 18 to 15 teams.

The Cheetahs opted for a settlement with SA Rugby regarding their Super Rugby Participation Agreement. The Cheetahs did not take part in the criteria process as they had an agreement in place until 2020‚ but the Board of the Cheetahs decided on an amicable settlement with SA Rugby.

The announcement was made before a Special General Meeting of SA Rugby‚ which will formally confirm South Africa’s four participants in the competition next season.

The meeting has been called to determine SA’s entrants to fall in line with a Sanzaar decision to reduce the competition’s participants from 18 to 15 teams from next season.

The new structure will comprise four teams from South Africa‚ five from New Zealand‚ four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan.

Andre Rademan‚ president of the EPRU‚ said: “It has been a roller-coaster ride for the (Kings) franchise for a number of seasons but there is now a clear and viable way forward for rugby in the Eastern Cape to build on the foundations that have been laid – particularly in the past season.

“We have enjoyed Super Rugby but the chance to test ourselves against different opposition in different conditions is a mouth-watering one.

“We are therefore not opposed to joining new competitions. With all stakeholders pulling in the same direction we can bring success and excitement to rugby in the Eastern Cape.”

Cheetahs chief executive Harold Verster said: “The board of the Cheetahs has reviewed the team’s future and is extremely positive about the prospect of appearing in alternative international competitions.

“It will be an exciting challenge for our players‚ supporters and commercial partners and will be the start of a new chapter for rugby both in our region and in South Africa.

“Also‚ it will allow the Cheetahs to carve out a new and prominent place on the rugby map in South Africa as well as internationally.”

- TimesLIVE

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