Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett believes the Eastern Cape should keep a franchise in Super Rugby.
SANZAAR, the southern hemisphere’s rugby governing body, recently announced that the Super Rugby competition would be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from next year.
South Africa will lose two teams and Australia one, with Argentina’s Jaguares and Japan’s Sunwolves to remain in the competition.
There has been lots of speculation about which two South African teams should be axed, with the general consensus being that it should be the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.
But for Mallett it’s not so clear-cut.
While discussing the issue on SuperSport at the weekend, Mallett proposed that the Lions and Bulls should merge to form one Gauteng franchise.
He also called for one franchise each from the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
“I personally think Port Elizabeth needs a franchise,” Mallett said.
“Whether you structure it as the Kings or whether you say it is an Eastern Cape franchise and we also have Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape franchises.
“Then you do away with the Bulls and the Lions and all that sort of thing. That would be my answer.”
Mallett said players from the Cheetahs and Kings could form part of one “Eastern Cape” franchise, as well as the Bulls and Lions feeding the “Gauteng franchise”.
“If you got the Cheetahs and Kings together and then the Lions and the Bulls, and I am just saying this, and they are not wanting to join... I am just saying if there was a Gauteng franchise that drew on those two (Lions and Bulls) and an Eastern Cape franchise that drew on the Cheetahs and Kings, we will then keep the majority of our best players and have rugby played in areas that can generate big crowds.”