It has been widely reported this year that the PRO12 is looking expand the competition by inviting new teams from new lucrative markets. We’ve heard of potential franchises in the United States, Germany and Georgia but the one which always held the most weight was the potential introduction of Super Rugby sides.
Three Super Rugby sides are set to be axed from the competition to return to a 15-team format for next season, one of either the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force will be axed from Australia while the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs are expected to be removed from South Africa.
With the similar time zones between Western Europe and South Africa – the possibility of the two South African teams joining the PRO12 made sense but many believed this would take at least one or two years to occur.
However, BBC Sport Wales is reporting that the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs could join the PRO12 in September, meaning a 14-team format for the upcoming season. The two teams are expected to be officially cut from Super Rugby on 7 July.
The format of the competition has yet to be decided i.e. will it be one 14-team division or divided into two conferences of seven teams. This will be the first change to the competition since 2010 when the Italian sides were introduced.
The same report also states that this expansion will pave the way for American sides to join the league the following season.
Exciting times ahead for the PRO12.
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