Davids: PRO14 move will be ‘unique experience’

Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids says that PRO Rugby will present its own unique challenges for the South African franchises. DYLAN JACK reports.

SA Rugby on Tuesday confirmed the existing Super Rugby franchises are in line to make the transition to an expanded PRO Rugby competition.

ALSO READ: Why SA Rugby is seeking northern-hemisphere future

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 – with the Cheetahs and Kings set to exit the competition.

Speaking during an online media conference on Monday, Davids, who coached in the PRO14 for four years with the Kings, said the challenges of playing against teams from different countries with their own cultures and styles will test the Super Rugby franchises.

‘It is a very good competition. It is a very challenging competition,’ Davids said. ‘You play week in and week out against different cultures in different countries. You are playing against very different coaching minds, on different surfaces.

‘So, it is a tough and very challenging competition. I think our teams possibly might be a bit slow out of the blocks. But, eventually, I think they will adapt. Looking at our playing talent that we have in South African rugby, I think it would be a very, very exciting competition to be in.

‘The advantages of playing up north is based on the different experiences that you get in terms of rugby. You are playing in different countries against different coaches. You have to adjust your style according to the different circumstances. The different approaches from a technical point of view are focused more in certain areas of the game than what they are in Super Rugby.  Obviously, Super Rugby is a fantastic competition, where you also play against fantastic teams.

‘I think that it will be a unique experience, it will be something different. Eventually, it will be very interesting to see how our teams compete.’

COLUMN: SA Rugby looking long-term with PRO14 move

Davids also shared his thoughts on the Kings, who have been placed into liquidation following their financial struggles.

‘I was hugely privileged to be part of the Southern Kings. I have very special memories and am grateful for the opportunity to have been there. It is never easy to be in the situation that they have been in.

‘My heart is with the players and the whole region. In my mind, I think it is really sad that it has happened. There are maybe different reasons for that.

‘I still feel that with the talent pool all over South Africa and the talent that we know coming out of that region, we will still in the future see some good players coming from there.’

ALSO READ: Kings liquidation felt like a ‘sneak attack’

Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack