Cheetahs and Kings get Super Rugby chop

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The Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks have been confirmed as South Africa’s four Vodacom Super Rugby competitors from 2018, SA Rugby announced on Friday.
The Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings have earlier informed SA Rugby of their intention to explore alternative playing opportunities in other international competitions.

The announcement was made following a Special General Meeting of SA Rugby which took place in Cape Town on Friday, which formally confirmed South Africa’s participants in the competition next season.
The meeting has been called to determine SA’s entrants to fall in line with a SANZAAR decision to reduce the competition’s participants from 18 to 15 teams from next season.

The new structure will comprise four teams from South Africa, five from New Zealand, four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan, with the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks South Africa’s competitors.

Jurie Roux, CEO, of SA Rugby said that Friday’s General Meeting still had the constitutional responsibility to confirm SA’s entrants in the competition.
“I want to thank the Cheetahs and the Kings for the mature and professional manner in which they approached and managed this difficult situation. They took decisions that will not only benefit them, but also SA Rugby in general,” said Roux.

The Toyota Cheetahs have opted for a settlement with SA Rugby regarding their Vodacom Super Rugby Participation Agreement. The Toyota Cheetahs did not take part in the criteria process as they had an agreement in place till 2020, but the Board of the Cheetahs have decided on an amicable settlement with SA Rugby.

This will allow the Toyota Cheetahs to explore other international competition opportunities, according to Harold Verster, CEO of the Toyota Cheetahs.

The Southern Kings will explore multiple other international competition opportunities and an announcement on those opportunities is expected shortly.

Andre Rademan, president of the EPRU, said: “It has been a roller coaster ride for the franchise for a number of seasons but there is now a clear and viable way forward for rugby in the Eastern Cape to build on the foundations that have been laid – particularly in the past season.

“We have enjoyed Vodacom Super Rugby but the chance to test ourselves against different opposition in different conditions is a mouth-watering one. We are therefore not opposed to joining new competitions. With all stakeholders pulling in the same direction we can bring success and excitement to rugby in the Eastern Cape.”

Announcements relating to new international competitive opportunities for the two teams will be made in due course.