Welsh boss confirms SARU's Pro12 talks

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 20:58
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NEWS: The South African Rugby Union's desire to join a Northern Hemisphere competition has been confirmed.

While there has been numerous reports of two South African franchises joining the Pro12, this is the first confirmation of formal talks.

The Cheetahs and Southern Kings, the two SA teams said to be axed from Super Rugby next year, have been short-listed as the franchises to head north.

Welsh Rugby Union Chairman Gareth Davies confirmed that there are "formal" talks with SARU about SA teams joining the Pro12.

It is believed the announcement would be made soon and the two SA franchises could move north as early as September - for the 2017/18 Pro12 season.

Cheetahs captain Francois Venter said, in a media briefing this week: "We are stepping into a new stage of Free State rugby."

He did not elaborate, but most pundits believe he was making reference to the pending Pro12 move.

"I can't tell you probably any more than has already been stated," Davies told BBC Wales Sport.

"There are discussions going on, which people are aware of, between the Pro12 and the South African Rugby Union and the franchises down there.

"There is a desire from the South African teams I think to join the Pro12 and I think the Pro12 would like them to join.

"The Pro12 itself is a cross border competition already and this just extends this.

"It makes for a promising and exciting future, if it did happen.

"At the moment it looks like the two teams from Super Rugby that will not be in the competition next year will join [the Pro12]

"I suspect there will be interest further afield from South African teams as well.

"It just expands the tournament and I think it's an opportunity to develop the game within the northern hemisphere.

"There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of the legal complexities with issues such as broadcasting, commercial and most important, player welfare with all the travelling that has to be done and the logistics associated with that."

Source: BBC Wales Sport

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