The South African Rugby Union and its Super 15 teams agreed on “a number of options” on Monday to solve the dilemma of having six sides fighting for five places in next year's competition.
Saru said that after a “positive meeting” - the second meeting with its franchises in four days - the possible solutions will now be considered by its executive committee.
A final decision on how South Africa structures its Super 15
teams from next season will be made by SARU's General Council in July, the national body said. Saru didn't reveal what the options were.
Saru is scrambling to avoid having to sacrifice one of its current Super 15 outfits after it promised the new Southern Kings a place in 2013, only for organizer SANZAR to refuse to expand the tournament.
Options available to Saru are to relegate the lowest-placed South African team, currently the Johannesburg-based Lions, or get two teams to merge, with the Kings guaranteed their place next year.
The Lions and the Cheetahs, who are from the central city of Bloemfontein, are the likeliest candidates for a merger. The two joined up before when they competed as the Cats in Super rugby between 1998 and 2006.
Saru's General Council will make its decision with a vote. The General Council is made up of two representatives from each of South Africa's 14 rugby provinces - each of whom has one vote.
The meeting chairman, Saru's president or deputy president, also has a vote. A majority is required to pass decisions. – Sapa-AP