After bringing in two clubs from South Africa to join for this season, it was announced this Tuesday that the PRO14 will expand further in the coming years.
According to the chief executive of the PRO14 Martin Anayi, the league which already has teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and South Africa, will look to add franchises from the east coast of the United States, saying it a matter of “when not if”.
The growth of the former Celtic League to accommodate the two former Super Rugby sides, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs is the league’s first expansion since 2010 and the addition of the Italian clubs Treviso and Zebre.
Anayi said, via Wales Online:
“We are thinking about what is next. The two teams in South Africa can change our game and change our tournament and if we get that right, we shouldn’t stop there. We would be looking to expand again at some stage. We have got to do things differently.
“When it comes to America, we have to be innovative. The English have got a great thing going in Philadelphia and it will go really well. How do we play to our strengths as Celtic nations but also nations with the huge diaspora, Italian and South African, around the world? What are the key markets to become global?
We have had more than expressions of interest in the US, we have had real solid business cases that would make it work on the east coast, and so it is a question of when not if.”
Anayi has also hinted in the past about the prospect of including teams from Germany, Spain, and Canada in the league, so whatever happens, be prepared for lots of change in the league over the coming years as the PRO14 (for now anyway) becomes a global tournament.
Michael Keaveny, Pundit Arena