Cape Town -The Pumas and Griquas have lauded SA Rugby's decision to identify them as the preferred candidates to
assume places in inter-continental competitions.
The two unions were selected from a list of four bidders in a process assessed and determined by independent consultants.
The unsuccessful bidders were combinations of the Leopards, Valke and Griffons Rugby Unions and of the Boland, Border and SWD unions.
SA Rugby did not state which international competitions the two would enter, but earlier reports indicated that it could be in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions.
Pumas president Hein Mentz told Netwerk24 that international provincial tournaments are important for the development of rugby in South Africa.
“It now gives us that platform. It’s not the end of our aspirations, but a very big milestone in the province’s history. It’s the realisation of a goal we’ve worked very hard at. We accept it with great humility and we believe we’ll meet the expectations to represent South Africa.”
Griquas president Jannie Louw said their new status as a franchise will create more opportunities for rugby players in South Africa.
He also hinted at the possibility of entering a tournament in America.
“We should know by the end of January in which competitions we’ll play. It could be in a competition in America or Europe, or both.”
It is expected that the two new SA franchises will start competing in the competitions by November next year.
The appearance of the Pumas and Griquas in any new competitions would also be dependent on their agreement to licensing terms and conditions, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux stressed.
“This is an important first step to further expanding the international reach of South African rugby and gives us time to have them properly prepared should future opportunities become available,” Roux said via a press statement on Friday.
“There are discussions taking place but we are some way from confirming any new opportunities. That process is likely to continue well into 2018 before we have any finality.”
The outcome of the assessment was announced to the SA Rugby General Meeting in Cape Town on Friday.