Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie has expressed his disappointment over SA Rugby’s decision to leave the Cheetahs out of PRO Rugby.
SA Rugby on Tuesday confirmed the existing Super Rugby franchises are in line to make the transition to an expanded PRO Rugby competition.
The decision was taken by the 13 voting member unions of the South African Rugby Union at a special general meeting to determine international participation and competition formats in a Covid-19-impacted rugby environment.
The four teams voted to potentially transition were the existing Vodacom Super Rugby franchises – the Vodacom Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
However, this would come at the expense of the Cheetahs and Kings, who have both been involved in the PRO14 since its expansion from 12 teams in 2017.
The Cheetahs could now be set to find a new home in a Super Eight tournament, alongside teams from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Japan.
The team will have to keep its focus on the upcoming Currie Cup competition first, where they will be defending the title they won in 2019.
Speaking to the Citizen, Cheetahs coach Fourie said the team will not have anything to prove going into the domestic tournament.
‘I don’t think we really want to prove anything regarding [our exit from] PRO Rugby,’ Fourie said. ‘We were willing to play in the competition in 2017 [when the structure of Super Rugby changed] and the Cheetahs did very well in the three seasons they were part of PRO Rugby.
‘So, there wasn’t a logical reason for me that we shouldn’t play in PRO Rugby … whether we win the Currie Cup or not.’
Fourie outlined the fact that the Cheetahs made the playoffs in their first season of the PRO14 and had a 76% win rate at home as a further reason why they should have kept their place in the competition.
‘The Cheetahs have proved themselves over a period of time as one of the top teams in the country and for me there was no valid reason to kick us out of the competition,’ Fourie added.
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