European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) chairman Simon Halliday has revealed that he expects South Africa’s PRO16 teams to become part of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions from 2022 onwards.
The current tournament participation agreement came into existence in 2014 and excluded the Cheetahs and Kings despite their eventual involvement in the PRO14. That deal, however, is set to expire and negotiations on what is due to replace it are ongoing.
Speaking to The Rugby Pod, the former England international was enthusiastic about what the new agreement might look like.
‘We have had an independent review,’ Halliday said. ‘They have come up with a load of recommendations which the board have unanimously backed and we’re now working out how that feeds into a new agreement and it’s very exciting.’
Commenting specifically on the question of South Africa’s involvement in European competitions, Halliday underlined that the expectation was for their eventual inclusion.
‘We know South Africa have an intention to become part of the PRO16 and we’re fully expecting if that happens for that [South Africa’s European participation] to come our way. We’d be pretty naive if we didn’t think that.
‘When you think about that sort of development, plus frankly the growing strength of all the clubs around all the leagues, it’s [European competitions] only going to get bigger and better. We are duty bound to drive an agreement that fully realises that’.
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