Cape Town – South African Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux has re-stated his country’s commitment to staying in SANZAAR.
While the Cheetahs and Southern Kings are set to play their first games in the PRO14 competition at the weekend, it is not a sign that South Africa is looking exclusively to a future in Europe.
Roux told the Guardian that leaving SANZAAR was not something South Africa was looking at.
While the existing SANZAAR deal runs until 2020, South Africa is due to host the British and Irish Lions in 2021, a series that would have no future if South Africa turned its future towards Europe.
“This is a very exciting time for South Africa rugby,” said Roux.
The connection with the PRO14 gave South Africa options, something it didn’t have by a rigid connection with SANZAAR.
“We don’t have options in SANZAAR, which means you’re actually nowhere and that’s not where you want to be,” added Roux.
“But we are really good for each other, so we will still participate; we are strong because we play against Australia and New Zealand.
“We can never have eight franchises in SANZAAR, we can have four or five maximum and maybe we’ll even go down to three.
“But at least now we have options.
“We still need to play against Australia and New Zealand to be the best, so I don’t see the relationship ending but we’ll have more exposure up north.”
It was possible that more South African teams could be involved in the PRO14 but that wouldn’t be discussed until the Cheetahs and Kings had assessed their involvement in that competition.
The Cheetahs play Ulster on Friday in Belfast while the Scarlets host the Kings in Llanelli on Saturday.