SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux has called the four South African teams’ official introduction into the PRO16 United Rugby Championship ‘a watershed moment in the country’s rugby history’.
It was announced on Tuesday morning that the new PRO Rugby competition including the four South African teams had been named the United Rugby Championship.
Commenting on the news, Roux said: ‘South African rugby has for many years imagined a future aligned with northern-hemisphere rugby and this announcement marks the arrival of that vision.
‘Our teams will be pitting themselves against the leading clubs from four nations, steeped in rugby tradition and folklore. They’ll do it without having to cross time zones or acclimatise while 100% of matches will kick off in South African prime time.
‘This is a watershed moment in South African rugby history, opening new doors and heralding a new and exciting era for our sport.’
PRO Rugby CEO Martin Anayi added that the inclusion of South African teams will be unique, because it means the predominantly European-based competition will now house World Cup winners and the tournament will ‘reshape’ world club rugby.
‘Fans have always asked more of our league and now we are taking it to new heights. The United Rugby Championship will see World Cup winners, icons of the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and stars of the British & Irish Lions tour turning up the intensity in an exciting new league format.
‘Forming the United Rugby Championship will begin to reshape the world of club rugby. We are creating a league that embraces and celebrates difference and where the only way to succeed will be to match the skill and intensity of the international game.
‘The arrival of South Africa’s elite teams and the removal of fixtures from international match weekends will make our league stronger across the board. We will see heroes taking on heroes every week in iconic locations to create an appeal that will be unmatched in the world of club rugby.
‘We now have a clear purpose and identity that everyone associated with our league can stand behind. We have listened and we have answered the challenge set by our clubs to take this competition to the next level both on and off the field. North and south will now collide on a regular basis and we cannot wait to see who will rise up as the first champions of the United Rugby Championship.’
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