Could The Kings And Cheetahs Play Their Rugby Overseas? This Guy Thinks So
Story from: 2oceansvibe.com
Super Rugby is set for a major shake-up, with next year’s tournament seeing a reduction in teams from 18 to 15.
This will be welcomed by most fans, given that the current format skews heavily in favour of certain teams with far too many blowouts, but the same can’t be said for the Kings and Cheetahs franchises.
South Africa will lose two teams, and it’s pretty obvious that these will be the guys on the chopping block. So do they pair up with other franchises – Cheetahs with Lions and Kings with Sharks, perhaps – or do they take the radical route of heading overseas?
Former Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever believes the latter is the way forward, with this from Sport24:
McKeever agrees that the Cheetahs and Kings should be dropped from the tournament, but has proposed the idea of entering the two franchises into Europe’s PRO12 competition – which runs from September to May.
“With the size of the current Currie Cup and Super Rugby squads, both the Cheetahs and EP Rugby could easily accommodate this schedule and start playing in September 2017,” the former Eastern Cape rugby boss said…
The PRO12 is an annual competition involving 12 professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
McKeever [above] says SA Rugby needs to “accept the news and the fact that two teams are certainly going to be cut and move on, like right now.
“I have already engaged the PRO12 CEO Martin Anayi and proposed he take these two teams and rebrand this as PRO14 and let the Cheetahs and Eastern Province Rugby be a part of this tournament, which starts in September.
“Martin is a visionary and seeks to expand PRO12 into new markets and grow the PRO12 TV audiences and spectators. This is a perfect synergistic way to accomplish that with South African Rugby.”
Can’t say I saw this one coming, although there will be thousands of obstacles to overcome before the wheels are set in motion.
According to McKeever, this could also help reverse the talent drain we are seeing as players flock to Europe and are lost to the Bok setup:
Despite SA Rugby’s association with SANZAAR, an alliance with Europe is allowed, McKeever insists.
“By doing this, SA Rugby would send a potent message to SANZAAR – that they are not agonising over this and are the first of the ‘Big 3’ southern hemisphere teams to break ranks and go north and let that be a message to not mess with us anymore,” he said.
“Personally, I think the PRO14 TV ratings will blow Super Rugby away and you might very well see a reversal of the exodus of players from South Africa and rather to these two South African PRO14 teams.
“It is such an obvious solution to a decade old agonising conundrum that SA Rugby had to deal with and which has ripped the financial heart out of South African rugby.
“As the saying goes, ‘out of disruption, comes innovation’. This is the way of the future of rugby in South Africa and it is fitting that the Cheetahs and EP Rugby should be the pioneers for this evolution of the game, certainly Harold Verster (Cheetahs managing director) and Rory Duncan (Cheetahs director of rugby) think so as well,” McKeever said.
As long as Cheeky Watson goes nowhere near the project, given that his sticky fingers keep on dipping into the Kings’ honey jar.
It’s an interesting approach to an issue that is going to be very tricky to sort out in the months that follow, because you can bet the two franchises will go down swinging.
If they do go, can they take Allister Coetzee with them?
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