There’s been some speculation around it for a little while now, but the worst-kept secret of 2017 is finally out: the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will join Europe’s Pro 12 competition.
The decision comes following the Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth sides being cut from the Super Rugby competition last month.
The Pro 14 (as it will now be known as) will adopt a two-conference model which will allows for the new clubs to be added into the Championship without needing to add extra rounds in the 2017/18 season.
Cheetahs and Kings will play their home games in South Africa, so the Bloem and PE fans can still enjoy their live rugby, with the franchises’ away games being at their respective opponents’ home stadiums.
The first round of matches is due to be played on the weekend of 1-3 September, with the first fixtures to be announced on 7 August.
It’s said that the two new teams will bring in an extra £6m (around R105 million) a year in revenue. Guess the Cheetahs and Kings are laughing last.