After months of speculation, it’s official – the Cheetahs and Kings have been axed from Super Rugby and will no longer take part in the competition following the conclusion of the current season.
The new Super Rugby structure will therefore comprise four teams from South Africa, five from New Zealand, four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan. The decision is stemmed from SANZAAR’s aim to reduce the competition’s participants from 18 to 15 teams from 2018.
The Cheetahs have opted for a settlement with SA Rugby regarding their Super Rugby Participation Agreement, as they had an agreement in place till 2020. This will allow the Cheetahs to explore other international competition opportunities.
The Southern Kings meanwhile indicated they are excited about new playing frontiers and will explore multiple other international competition opportunities and an announcement on those opportunities is expected shortly.
It’s widely speculated that both the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will join the Northern Hemisphere’s Pro 12 competition, which currently features twelve professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Official announcements from both franchises are expected soon. More as we hear it.