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Lessons of Super Rugby clear to see as South African move looms for PRO14

Ruaidhri O'Connor



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Leo Cullen: Frustrated. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leo Cullen: Frustrated. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Leo Cullen: Frustrated. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Slowly but surely the stars are aligning for rugby's big shift. Covid-19 has accelerated the timeline, and it appears to be only a matter of time now before the Guinness PRO14 expands its South African presence.

On Tuesday, a report in New Zealand heralded the end of the SANZAAR agreement which governs rugby south of the equator. Newshub reported that the 'Aratipu' review conducted by the NZRU had found that the preferred path for that country is a pivot towards a trans-Tasman competition featuring teams from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific. That move would mean the end of the current competition which features teams from South Africa, Argentina and, until last season, Japan.

Instead, it looks more and more likely that the top four teams from the Rainbow Nation - the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Lions - would replace the two current franchises participating in the PRO14, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs, to make it a PRO16.