SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux says the four big local franchises’ move to the PRO14 will test them against the best club sides in the world.
On Friday the Vodacom Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers’ first foray into Europe has been confirmed with the news that the PRO16 Rainbow Cup will kick-off on the weekend of 24 April with three weekends of derby action followed by cross-hemisphere fixtures where the existing PRO14 teams will face SA’s ‘Super’ teams for the first time.
Commenting on the news, Roux said: ‘This is exciting news for the four franchises that will move into Europe and I’m sure they will be eager to get the ball rolling in terms of preparing to face a whole new set of opponents.’
‘We’ve seen the quality of rugby produced in the PRO14 this season, under difficult circumstances, and it will be great for our sides to test their mettle against some of the best club sides in the world, bringing with them new challenges.
‘It’s disappointing that the teams from Europe won’t be able to come to South Africa yet, but there is a bigger picture in play and it will be good to get the ball rolling with the Rainbow Cup. Plans are being made for our teams’ away games later in the series.
‘While the excitement is palpable, it’s also paramount to remember that we are living in extraordinary times and that forces outside our control can still put a damper on the plans, but we will cross that bridge should the need arise and we are working tirelessly with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition into Europe for our teams.’
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