Coach Hawies Fourie has revealed the Cheetahs will be involved in European competition before the end of the year, if all goes according to plan.
The Cheetahs will not form part of the newly-devised United Rugby Championship, which is seen as a stepping stone to elite European competition for the four leading South African franchises, the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions.
However, the Cheetahs could play in a series of warm-up matches in November in preparation for a return to the northern hemisphere.
Rumours have suggested this could see the Free State side involved in fixtures involving EP, a team from Romania and Spain, and possibly a Toyota XV side.
Other speculation has indicated the Cheetahs may have also signed a five-year contract to play in European Intercontinental Shield from October 2022.
“We really hope to play in the Challenge Cup. There’s a lot of speculation that we might actually be able to participate in this season’s edition. But it still needs to be confirmed, so we’re waiting for that.
“This year’s competition is planned to start in mid-December and we are working on a plan to organise games for ourselves in November.
“There are two plans on the table in terms of warm-up matches. We can invite two teams from Eastern Europe and if they can come, along with another South African team, we can play in double-headers and everyone can play three matches.
“The other option is to play local teams. They’ve got a month’s break between matches in the United Rugby Championship in November. I’m sure that some of them would be keen to stay busy and play a friendly or two.
“I always felt that was a problem for me in the PRO14. You never had the opportunity to play games where you could give the fringe players or a player returning from an injury the opportunity to regain some match fitness. I certainly would’ve appreciated that.”