A special General Meeting of the South African Rugby Union (Saru) voted on Tuesday to explore entering four teams into an expanded PRO Rugby competition as well as retaining a place in a revised Sanzaar competition.
The four teams voted to potentially make the transition were the existing Super Rugby franchises – the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks and the Stormers.
The meeting rejected the first option of remaining in a PRO14 format and leaving four franchises to engage in potential successor Sanzaar domestic formats.
The General Meeting also opted to continue conversations with Sanzaar about entering a team into a modified “Super Series” format, on the proviso that a commercial model was developed to make their entry cost neutral at least, once agreement had been reached with Sanzaar.
The meeting agreed that the Cheetahs would be proposed as the South African entry to such a competition.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the meeting and options had been presented as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the unilateral decision by the New Zealand Rugby Union to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition.
He says: “Our members are excited about the prospect of closer alignment with PRO Rugby Championship and seeking a northern hemisphere future, but we would not have been taking this decision but for actions elsewhere.”