Super Rugby

Van Rooyen: SA teams would prefer Pro12

Rudi van Rooyen (Gallo)
Rudi van Rooyen (Gallo)

Cape Town - Kings scrumhalf Rudi Van Rooyen says South African players would relish the opportunity of playing in the Pro12.

SA Rugby confirmed last week that the Kings and Cheetahs would be axed from Super Rugby with talk that the two sides are poised to join the Pro12.

And Van Rooyen says South African rugby players are excited by the prospect of competing in the Pro12.

"A lot of the players at South African teams would prefer playing in the Pro12," van Rooyen told BBC Scotland.

"Most of the guys are really excited to play in the northern hemisphere - it's a new challenge, a new type of game, playing new opposition that you don't know at all.

"Most of the South Africans want to earn their pounds or their Euros and I think playing in Europe, playing against Munster or Ulster, the big teams from Ireland or Scotland or Wales can certainly put your foot in the door a bit.

"The only way people in Europe can see you play is clips and games that you send them, but once you start playing against them week in, week out, they can know more about you as a person and how you play.

"I've got only about four, five, six years left - you have to make your pounds or your Euros. Playing against the European teams week in, week out should hopefully make a way for us to get overseas just by playing against the teams there."

Van Rooyen also hoped playing the Pro12 would increase his chances of representing the Springboks.

"We're going to play more of a kicking game against the northern hemisphere teams because it is wet most of the time - maybe that's what the Springboks selectors want for certain games," he said.

"So I think it can really help us to become Boks or to get that big contract in Europe to help you get financial stability for after rugby.

"It can be a huge door to be opened for South Africans wanting to make a few bucks before their time runs out with rugby.

"It's a slower game, so you can manage the bodies a bit better. You just have to get the right squad, enough guys in specific positions for depth, because it is such a long competition.

"But I think the excitement of the new competition could really boost that. tiring bodies is one thing, but if you know you can tour to Ireland or Scotland, that's a big motivator.

"The first season might get a bit long, but our depth was tested in Super Rugby and we did exceptionally well.

"We've shown this year we're a great running side - I think we can bring something new to the Pro12, more running than kicking, and I think that will be good for the Pro12.

"Talent-wise we've really stepped up and I think we can be a threat. I don't see why we'd have to stand back for big teams like Munster.

"I really think we can make our stamp in the first year and build on that. I think, if you just get through the first year and how things work, you can build on that. I think we can really be contenders growing into the Pro12."

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