Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says the recent news from New Zealand means that South African teams will more than likely move north next year.
Mallett was in conversation with Bruce Whitfield as part of a ‘Think Big’ webinar series hosted by financial services group PSG.
New Zealand Rugby recently announced plans to shake up rugby in the southern hemisphere with an eight-to-10 team tournament, with a strong desire to include one side from the Pacific Islands. Expressions of interest are being sought from Australian Rugby.
There would be no space for either the South African franchises or Argentina’s Jaguares as NZ Rugby wants to see all five their Vodacom Super Rugby teams take part.
Reacting to the news, Mallett said that it is certain that South African teams will be playing in a northern-hemisphere club tournament next year.
‘The news coming out of New Zealand that NZ and Australia wish to create a new Antipodean rugby competition in 2021, to replace Super Rugby, will mean that the SA professional rugby franchises will certainly move north in 2021,’ Mallett said.
Rumours have suggested that the four South African Super Rugby teams could join an expanded PRO14 tournament as early as next year.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux is set to brief the media on Tuesday afternoon as to their long-term plans following NZ Rugby’s announcement last week.
‘We must decide whether we are going to go north and play in the north and try and win competitions in Europe,’ Mallett added. ‘Or else we are going to stick in the southern hemisphere with our time difference issues that we have with flights and the complications of having to spend two or three weeks away from home every time you play an away trip.
‘We need to make sure that we are in a competition that suits South Africa. My feeling is that it probably suits us to go north.’
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