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

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19