Mallett: PE needs Super Rugby franchise

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says SA Rugby should consider Super Rugby mergers between the Kings and Cheetahs, and the Bulls and Lions.

The Kings and Cheetahs are expected to be the two South African casualties of Sanzaar's decision to reduce the tournament from 18 to 15 teams at the end of the season, but Mallett believes the Eastern Cape must retain its franchise.

'I personally think Port Elizabeth needs a franchise,' Mallett said on SuperSport. 'Whether you structure it as the Kings or whether you say it is an Eastern Cape franchise and we also have Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape franchises.

'Then you do away with the Bulls and the Lions and all that sort of thing. That would be my answer.'

Mallett said players from the Cheetahs and Kings could form part of one 'Eastern Cape' franchise, with the Bulls and Lions feeding the Gauteng franchise.

'If there was a Gauteng franchise that drew on those two [Lions and Bulls] and an Eastern Cape franchise that drew on the Cheetahs and Kings, we will then keep the majority of our best players and have rugby played in areas that can generate big crowds.'

Photo: Peter Parks/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt