Official plans have been revealed for the new Guinness PRO14


Griffiths fears the Cheetahs and Kings may not bring as much to the party as the existing PRO12 teams would like, but insists a consolidation of top English, French and South African sides into one competition would be a sure-fire commercial victor.

One of the major issues was surrounding season ticket holders who up to now would have known how many home matches they would be attending per season.

Griffiths, a leading figure in South African sport before revolutionising Saracens from 2008 to 2015, revealed extensive talks between Premiership Rugby and South Africa officials have taken place and reckons a new North-South axis could follow.

An additional two rounds of matches, ensures the Welsh and Irish teams retain the current six derbies each.

However, the South African teams aren't allowed (yet) to qualify for the European Champions Cup (a Uefa Champions League for rugby of sorts).

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Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the decision to accept an invitation to play in the northern hemisphere competition was a ground-breaking move that added a whole new dimension to the South African season.

South Africa's main club competition, the Currie Cup, runs July-October, overlapping with the Pro14's traditional September to May season.

However, it was confirmed on Tuesday that the top three clubs from each conference (notably excluding SA teams) would qualify for the Champions Cup, while the team with the highest points total outside of those six teams across both conferences will claim the final Champions Cup place.

Celtic Rugby said the inclusion of the Cheetahs and Kings was part of a "long-term" agreement between it and the South African rugby union.

The Cheetahs and Southern Kings join the PRO14 having been dropped by Super Rugby following its decision to slash its competition from 18 clubs to 15.

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"Last season's figures showed that we are the home of Positive Play and now the Guinness PRO14 will be one of the most unique and diverse rugby tournaments in the world". It's unclear how the Cheetahs and Kings will compete in both during the overlap.

"It will be a challenge going over there to play, but exciting and it is a good new dimension to the competition".

Andre Rademan, president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union: The Kings have been through tough times on and off the field over recent years but we now have the chance to reclaim our status as one of the powerhouses of South African rugby. If South Africa leave Super Rugby, what becomes of Argentina's sole representative, the Jaguares, who despite helping to promote rugby in South America could well start to feel isolated away from Australia, New Zealand and Japan?

"The Southern Kings have been on an upward playing curve this season and there is much to be excited about".

"It will be interesting to see how they travel and how they like the British weather while for our players it'll be different playing in the heat of a South African summer".

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