Cape Town – SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has rejected a report indicating that South African sides are planning to leave Super Rugby for the PRO14 competition in Europe.
The Wales Online website reported last weekend that the Sharks would be the next South African side to join the PRO14 competition for the 2019/20 season, with the Lions and Stormers potentially following suit the next season.
However, the SA Rugby boss has dismissed the report.
“I think people are merely speculating. We’re a partner of Super Rugby. Super Rugby has only been good for South African rugby,” Alexander was quoted as saying by Netwerk24.
He added: “We are pleased with our footprint in the northern hemisphere. It’s good that we expanded there, but we are also happy with SANZAAR. No other country has teams in two different franchise competitions – one in the north and one in the south.
“It gives Rassie (Erasmus, Springbok coach) the opportunity to choose different players – players who are used to softer fields (in the north) and harder fields (in the south).”
Meanwhile, Sharks CEO Gary Teichmann earlier in the week also dismissed the report from the Welsh publication.
“No discussions have been held in terms of looking at PRO14. I don’t know where that has come from,” the former Springbok captain told New Zealand’s Radio Sport, as quoted by the Stuff.co.nz website.
“We enjoy having New Zealand teams here in Durban, there’s always a good rivalry between South African sides and New Zealand sides. Let’s keep that going.”
SANZAAR, the southern hemisphere’s governing body, also remains confident that South African teams will keep playing Super Rugby.
In a strongly worded press statement released on Monday, SANZAAR said all its member unions were still on board and involved in an ongoing review to determine Super Rugby’s future up to 2030.
“As part of this process the member unions have fully committed to the strategy and their future participation,” SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement.
“Any talk of a change to the stakeholder relationship and partners withdrawing, creation of new teams in new markets and trans-Tasman competitions is unsubstantiated speculation and simply wrong.”