Pro14 Rugby

Pro12 organisers confirm tournament expansion as South African sides join new format

August 1, 2017

The Pro12 rugby tournament will be expanded to include South African sides Southern Kings and Cheetahs from September, organisers announced today.

The expanded competition will be called the Pro14, with teams split into two conferences of seven sides. Each conference will contain two Welsh and two Irish sides, plus one team each from Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

Cheetahs and Kings will play their home games in South Africa, with five travel-free days prior to matches taking places.

The addition of the two new teams is reportedly set to boost revenue by £6million a year.

Martin Anayi, CEO of the Guinness PRO14, said: “The arrival of the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings marks a bold and exciting new chapter for the Guinness PRO14 as a global rugby Championship.

“As a country, South Africa is a rugby powerhouse of over 55 million people. These teams already operate to the high standards demanded by Super Rugby and they will add to the quality of our tournament.

“Our Unions and World Rugby are committed to broadening the game and this move is evidence of our ambition to lead the way in growing the club game beyond our own borders, which in turn will unlock the true potential of this tournament.

“This is a natural evolution for the Championship and not only will the calibre of the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings grow audiences, interest and the commercial base for the tournament and our clubs, it is a move that also lays the foundations for years to come.

“The appeal of professional club rugby has never been greater and we aim to be at the forefront of the game’s growth around the world.”

Bill Beaumont, World Rugby, Chairman added: “Following consideration of PRO14’s submission, including strategic goals and evaluation of the global rugby benefits, the World Rugby EXCO was unanimous in approving expansion.

“This approval was granted under the proviso that key strategic conditions will be met. This includes the implementation of a detailed player welfare plan, which we are delighted PRO14 are fully committed to. We look forward to the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the competition’s history.”

Conference A

Munster (IRFU)
Ospreys (WRU)
Glasgow Warriors (SRU)
Cardiff Blues (WRU)
Connacht (IRFU)
Zebre Rugby Club (FIR)
Toyota Cheetahs (SA Rugby)

Conference B

Scarlets (WRU)
Leinster (IRFU)
Ulster (IRFU)
Edinburgh (SRU)
Benetton Rugby (FIR)
Dragons (WRU)
Southern Kings (SA Rugby)

Pro14 Rugby