The Cheetahs could join the Celtic Pro12 competition if they are axed from Super Rugby.
According to the BBC, the Bloemfontein-based franchise has been approached by the league, which currently comprises teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.
The Pro12 denies extending a formal invitation, but says discussions are under way between stakeholders.
The Cheetahs also sought to distance themselves from the suggestion it was a 'formal' offer, but didn't deny that discussions were taking place.
'For now we are still involved in Super Rugby and any engagements with SA Rugby are sub-judice, so unfortunately I cannot offer any comment on the status of those negotiations,' Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster confirmed to Jacaranda FM Sport.
Super Rugby will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams at the end of the season, with two South African franchises (most likely the Kings and Cheetahs) and one from Australia (the Rebels or Force) to be dropped.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images