The rugby world has been brimming with excitement at the prospect of two South African former Super Rugby teams joining Europe’s PRO12 tournament, but it appears the change to the northern/southern hemisphere paradigm could have a significant impact on the Springboks as well.
SARU chief executive Jurie Roux was discussing the introduction of both the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs to a European tournament in an interview with the Sunday Times and what it could mean for the country’s Test side and said (via Wales Online):
“Now in terms of preparing our players for the conditions of the north, you might end up seeing two different Springbok sides being selected; one for inbounds (June Test series) and the Rugby Championship, and one for outbounds (European tours) in conditions that are completely different, and choosing players paced for that.”
With teams in both the PRO14 and Super Rugby, South Africa will be able to select Springboks from a player base that is experienced with both the more defence-minded mindset of the north and the attack-oriented approach in the south.
Roux has certainly be vocal about what the new PRO14 competition could mean for the world of rugby and stated in a recent press conference:
“We are breaking new ground with a number of global firsts: this is the first cross-hemisphere domestic club competition; the first time we will have played summer rugby in South Africa and the first experiment in aligning a season in the south with that of the north.
“Life is about diversity, life is about options and life is about opportunities, it creates more diversity and makes sense in terms of time-zones.”
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena