Currie Cup to be used as qualification for expanded PRO16?

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The Cheetahs won the 2019 Currie Cup (Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
The Cheetahs won the 2019 Currie Cup (Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
Gordon Arons
  • Using the Currie Cup as a qualification for entry into the PRO16 is reportedly a consideration.
  • However, this will only happen if the Springboks play for the duration of the Currie Cup.
  • Otherwise, the Bulls, Lions, Stormers and Sharks appear to be the preferred candidates, but the Cheetahs are adamant they deserve a spot.

This year's Currie Cup could be used as a qualifying event to determine South Africa's four teams in an expanded PRO16 event in Europe.

SA Rugby on Friday held its general council meeting, and according to Rapport, the idea was mooted by Cheetahs managing director Harold Verster.

The meeting was held virtually via Zoom, with the Afrikaans publication stating various members who sat in on the meeting said that SA Rugby's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus found the idea reasonable, provided teams are able to call on their Springboks.

However, if the revised Rugby Championship (scheduled to start on 7 November) goes ahead, then the Springboks could only feature in the first part of the Currie Cup.

It's now a done deal that South Africa will no longer form part of Super Rugby, and while the four teams to enter the PRO16 are yet to be determined, it looks likely to be the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers, with the Cheetahs and Kings out in the cold.

There are also plans to reduce the number of franchises playing in events from six to four, but the Cheetahs have indicated that they would be willing to go to court to protect their franchise status.

A high-placed source at the Cheetahs told Sport24 last week that the Cheetahs were legally contracted with SA Rugby to play in the PRO14 until 2023.

"As far as the Cheetahs are concerned, we have a binding contract which cannot be breached for whatever reason without legal consequences," the source said.

Adding to the complication is that broadcaster SuperSport, an important partner of SA Rugby, is reportedly in favour of the idea of having the four Super Rugby franchises take part in the PRO16.

SA Rugby's general council will vote on the matter next month.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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