The Super Rugby trophy, showing the tournament logo. Photo: Kerry Marshall / www.photosport.nz

CAPE TOWN – SA Rugby have confirmed that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will no longer compete in Super Rugby from next year.

Both teams have opted for a settlement with SA Rugby, and will now turn their focus to exploring other international competitions – widely believed to be Europe’s PRO12.

The announcement was made prior to a special general meeting of SA Rugby in Cape Town on Friday to formally confirm the country’s four participants in the competition next season, in line with Sanzaar’s decision to cut the competition’s format from 18 teams to 15.

The new structure will comprise of four teams from South Africa, five from New Zealand, four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan.

The four SA Super Rugby competitors for next year were confirmed to be the Bulls, the Stormers, the Lions and the Sharks.

According to SA Rugby, the Cheetahs decided on an “amicable” settlement with SA Rugby after their board reviewed the team’s future.

“It will be an exciting challenge for our players, supporters and commercial partners and it will be the start of a new chapter for rugby both in our region and in South Africa,” Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster said.

“Also, it will allow the Cheetahs to carve out a new and prominent place on the rugby map in South Africa, as well as internationally.”

Meanwhile, the Kings also accepted the opportunity to enter into a different competition overseas and EP Kings president André Rademan said that they were looking forward to the chance to “test themselves against different opposition in different conditions”.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride for the franchise for a number of seasons, but there is now a clear and viable way forward for rugby in the Eastern Cape to build on the foundations that have been laid – particularly in the past season,” Rademan said.

“We have enjoyed Super Rugby, but the chance to test ourselves against different opposition in different conditions is a mouth-watering one.

"We are therefore not opposed to joining new competitions. With all stakeholders pulling in the same direction, we can bring success and excitement to rugby in the Eastern Cape.”

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said: “I want to thank the Cheetahs and the Kings for the mature and professional manner in which they approached and managed this difficult situation. They took decisions that will not only benefit them, but also SA Rugby in general.”


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