Cheetahs clinging to Super Rugby lifeline

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:42
Large cheetahs   super rugby v pro12 800

REACTION: The Cheetahs have been linked to at least two European competitions, but they are clinging to a Super Rugby lifeline.

Recent reports have linked the Cheetahs - one of two South African teams at risk of being axed from Super Rugby - to the Pro12 and Anglo-Welsh Cup competitions in Europe.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup option won't happen until changes to the game's global calendar kick in, in 2020.

However, the Pro12 option could see the Cheetahs - who have obtained legal 'advice' over their proposed axing by the South African Rugby Union - move north as early as September this year.

Organisers of the Pro12 have been looking to expand the cross-border competition - which includes teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy - for some time now.

They are desperate to bring in additional TV revenue and create a conference system.

Pro12 bosses have admitted they are also looking at the North American market.

However, South African teams are in the same time zone as Europe, while North America will provide the same time zone issue that has turned Super Rugby scheduling into a disastrous mess.

The Cheetahs have thrown a veil of silence over the European links, but admitted they have not given up on remaining in Super Rugby.

"The Free State Cheetahs are currently taking proactive steps to ensure their continued involvement in Super Rugby," Ronel Pienaar, Manager: Strategic Communication, at FS Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd told rugby365.

"The board of directors at the Free State Cheetahs is currently negotiating with SARU in this regard.

"The board is confident that a 'strong case' can be made for the Cheetahs' continued involvement in Super Rugby.

"Due to the sensitive nature and importance of the matter, the Free State Cheetahs cannot comment any further on the matter."

While the Cheetahs' response to rugby365's enquiries did not address the European options, they also did not deny it - which they would have done if there was no substance to those reports.

The Pro12 will fill the void should the Cheetahs be axed from Super Rugby, while the Anglo-Welsh option could become an additional competition that will give the Cheetahs a second bite at the European apple.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions and runs concurrently with the Six Nations competition.

According to BBC Sport, Premiership Rugby is investigating the possibility of introducing South African Currie Cup teams into the competition.

According to the report, changes to rugby's calendar post-2019 would offer English bosses the chance to invite Currie Cup teams into the developmental tournament.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28