Plans for PRO14 to resume in August, but Cheetahs & Kings participation in doubt

JP du Preez of the Cheetahs is tackled by Uzair Cassiem  of the Scarlets (Getty Images
JP du Preez of the Cheetahs is tackled by Uzair Cassiem of the Scarlets (Getty Images

Plans are reportedly being considered to resume the PRO14 season in late August, but the participation of the Cheetahs and Kings remains in serious doubt.

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The tournament is currently halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a report on the BBC Sport website indicates a curtailed PRO14 could resume on 22 August, with a potential final set for between 17-19 September.

A return to action for the tournament poses more problems than most in that the PRO14 involves five countries in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.

The report added that a virtual board meeting was held in which stakeholders drafted a proposal to have two rounds of conference fixtures with sides playing teams from their own nation on the final two weekends in August.

In Scotland, Italy and South Africa that could involve two sides facing each other on consecutive weekends.

There could be two semi-finals on the first weekend in September with the top two sides in Conference A and Conference B facing each other.

It would represent a condensed end to the conference system with eight rounds of matches currently remaining. PRO14 organisers had previously said remaining games would be counted as scoreless draws if they cannot be played.

It would mean the Cheetahs would play the Kings home and away, but that too represents potential problems with South Africa currently on lockdown Level 4 - with sporting activities not permitted until the country reaches Level 1.

When that level is reached depends entirely on who you choose to believe.

When the 2019/20 tournament was halted, Irish defending champions Leinster topped Conference A with 13 wins from 13 matches and Scottish outfit Edinburgh were top of Conference B with 10 wins from 13 games.

South Africa's Cheetahs were fourth in Conference A with six wins, while the Southern Kings were bottom of Conference B with a solitary win.

If by hook or by crook the Cheetahs and Kings do manage to play their remaining two matches, it's unlikely even with bonus point victories that the Cheetahs could finish in the top two and contest a semi-final and potential final as they trail the current second placed Ulster by nine points having played one more match.

READ | Irish legend slams SA PRO14 sides as 'waste of time'

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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