Worst of times
Pity the poor Cheetahs, sacrificed for the sake of PRO rugby priorities
They have a lot more going for them than the nine remaining unions, but their inclusion is simply not feasible
The Cheetahs’ expulsion from PRO rugby that allowed for the inclusion of the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions isn’t just driving local rugby conversation.
As much as the South African Rugby Union (Saru) – perennially, it seems, with hands on head – would like five SA teams to participate in the PRO competition, it simply isn’t feasible. The only way the current PRO14 competition will expand is if 16 teams are allowed to participate. That is set to happen in 2021.
The even number means teams will be divided into two pools of eight and not seven as is currently the case. It requires some logistical adjustment but does not present organisers with the headache of trying to plot a competition structure that has 17 or 18 teams in an already congested fixture calendar...