Pro 14 - 6 to become 4 teams.

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Aug 28, 2020, 21:48

This seems to confirm that SA will move away from SuperRugby - and not pursue legal proceedings- or seek another arrangement. There was some dispute that contract ran longer, but SA must not be pursuing it. 

Australia seemed to prefer a smaller tournament that has about 2 teams each following a separate local derby knock out as round 1. So that looks like it is history as well. New Zealand only want about 3Australian teams- to ensure they are competitive.

Pro14 is a step-down, given that many of the best Northern Hemisphere teams field B-team players, and save the best ones for the European cup- and Test rugby. Not sure how many games each player has per season.  

The skills of the New Zealand backline will be missed. Their forward linking, trucking and fetching skills too.

Not sure what happened with Australia, but their forwards do not pull their weight. Their backs lack possession to be consistent week on week. 

Aug 29, 2020, 19:08

"Pro14 is a step-down, given that many of the best Northern Hemisphere teams field B-team players, and save the best ones for the European cup- and Test rugby. Not sure how many games each player has per season"

Wales online looked at this about two seasons ago and estimated that international players in the Pro 14 played roughly half the games in the regular season.

The Irish teams which are generally the strongest don't field their top players very often. You might see Johnny Sexton 5 times in the regular season. The Irish international players are on duel contracts between the club and the IRFU. The IRFU who stump up most of the cash to pay players control the game time of these players and mandate these players be rested and only play a certain amount of game making them unavailable for Pro 14 duty. The Irish teams will also often rest  there best players so they are fresh for European fixtures. This applies less for Connacht the smallest of the 4 Irish provinces as they don't have the depth of the bigger clubs and are not in Europe competition as often

Welsh and Scottish teams tend to field stronger teams more than the Irish teams. No disrespect to these nations clubs but they don't have the same depth as the big three Irish clubs and don't tend to get out of groups in Europe.

The 6 Nations also takes players away for part of the season and of course you will have injuries too.

Basically the most important thing for the Irish teams is a top 6 finish to get into Europe. Even sending out the B team, Leinster, Munster and Ulster will usually comfortable make the top 6.  Hell the Leinster B team would be competitive in any league. Glasgow and Scarletts are usually up there as well. Edinburgh are up there this year and Connacht are contenders for a qualification spot.

I think the inclusion of the Super Rugby South African teams will make the Pro 16 more prestigious to win and if the African teams start taking away European qualification spots it may force the top teams to play there strongest team more often, therefore improving the overall standard.

Aug 31, 2020, 08:06

Good point, Aug.

Sep 01, 2020, 17:13

I loved the Super 12 and to some degree the super 15, when each country had 5 teams only and no Arg or Jap teams to convolute the comp. 

Although, NZ always seem to walk away with the lions share in that the never had to drop a team or ever looked at loosing a team. 

For me it would make ideals sense to go back to 12 teams, 4 from each country, no matter which country has the top teams between SA, Aus and NZ.

But the ways things are going, it looks like there is a bigger favour for it to be time zone based. 

So I think that probably makes sense

Sep 30, 2020, 14:03

This appears to be confirmed now.

Cheetahs have booted out and Bulls, Lion, Sharks and Stormers are in.

I do feel sorry for the Cheetahs, its very hard on them. Personally I'm happy to see the big 4 South African teams join and it should raise the standard of league overall.

Wonder what format the league will take. I assume a two conference system of 8 teams, Home and away fixtures against teams in you conference and one game against the team from the other conference for a total of 22 games in the standard season.

Sep 30, 2020, 14:12

I'm really looking forward to this. The Pro14 has been pretty poor of late purely because Leisnter are so much better than most of the teams in the competition.  Adding the better rugby teams from SA (no offence but the Southern Kings didn't add much to the competition) will only help to improve the league.  I'm not sure how much the players will enjoy playing up here in Dublin when it's 2 degrees on a wet Friday night in January though :-)

Sep 30, 2020, 16:00

Yet another ridiculous decision in the world of Rugby Union ! 

The Pro 14 is a low standard competition so I see no benefit in you joining, unless it’s the lure of collecting extra Air Miles ! 

Sep 30, 2020, 16:52

I don't think the overall standard of the Pro 14 teams is any lower than the English or French leagues, its just the strongest teams the Pro 14 teams are fielded very often in the league as often as the other leagues. The stronger teams tend to focus on the European Cup. The inclusion of the South African teams might force the Pro 14 tops teams to field stronger teams more often if the SA team start taking filling the European qualification spots in the league and are challenging for the title.

I'm not seeing what other options SA teams have. Any domestic league will be inferior in standard to the Pro 14 and likely have less money behind it.

Sep 30, 2020, 17:28

The Pro 14 is a far lower standard. 

I understand all about it, I’m English Stavanger. 

It’s a stupid idea ! 

Sep 30, 2020, 17:34

Gonna be interesting.  Not on the same level as Super Rugby, but it will certainly lift the stature of the Pro-competition ...and whatever league NZ and Aus will be competing in, will be poorer without SA. Sad to see the end of SR, but it has become's time for change.

Sep 30, 2020, 18:16

Super rugby is a low quality, boring, generic tournament that died thirteen years ago. Miss it not. 

Sep 30, 2020, 18:27


Well I'm Irish and not wanting to get into a dick waving competition here but Pro 14 sides played English sides in Europe this year in 19 games and the Pro 14 won 10, lost 8 and drew 1.

So as I said the teams when playing to full strength the standard of the teams across the northern leagues is roughly comparable (and the standard in the English league will be down next year without Saracens), its just the Pro 14 teams don't feel there strongest teams in the league as often as the others do. The SA teams could force them to do so if they are taking Champions Cup qualification spots off them.

Watching the Pro 14, I've seen some great games, and I've seen some complete dross but of what I've seen of the Gallagher premiership its the same.

Again I don't see what alternative the SA teams have?

Sep 30, 2020, 18:38

"Again I don't see what alternative the SA teams have?"

The P14 is probably our best option because IMO, it won't be a charity handout,  but our participation might actually enhance the stature of the competition significantly...a win for everyone...except for the Kings and especially the Cheetahs...unfortunately :(

Sep 30, 2020, 19:20

Stavanger, I’m female so I can’t indulge in waving appendages with you :)

When it counted, our teams beat yours and you know the facts are that your teams select when to play the international’s.....we play ours at all times. 

I do think it’s a stupid idea. SA teams don’t have to play in the NH full stop. 

Sep 30, 2020, 19:53

"I do think it’s a stupid idea. SA teams don’t have to play in the NH full stop. "

I know we don't have to play there...we don't have to play anywhere, but it's less stupid than playing in NZ and Australia...and the other teams will be playing here in South Africa too. It might get interesting....but there will be growing pains and there will definitely be logistical challenges...but there are a lot more stupid things going on in the world right now than 4 SA teams playing rugga with a few European teams...change isn't always bad...and variety is the spice of life...

Sep 30, 2020, 20:07

Let's be honest, this is a decision based on money. In rugby terms, Europe is where the money is but also, SA's large population will mean considerably more TV money for the Pro14. I can't wait for the first Leinster V Stormers game in Dublin. Bring it on! 

Sep 30, 2020, 20:29

" I can't wait for the first Leinster V Stormers game in Dublin. Bring it on! " I said, it can get interesting...but South Africa's participation will probably spark more viewers from Europe and elsewhere than from SA only. ..time will tell...but I'm looking forward to that match too.

Sep 30, 2020, 20:31

Ps, welcome waraf...short synopsis of who you are?? Leinster or Stormers fan?

Sep 30, 2020, 21:28

I’m afraid to tell you that Europe isn’t wealthy, there is a real danger of Prem teams going bust and wages will decrease in those that survive. 

Covid has highlighted the gross overspending of money that most of the clubs indulge in. 

Worrying times. 

Sep 30, 2020, 21:38

"Stavanger, I’m female so I can’t indulge in waving appendages with you :)

When it counted, our teams beat yours and you know the facts are that your teams select when to play the international’s.....we play ours at all times. 

 I do think it’s a stupid idea. SA teams don’t have to play in the NH full stop."

Apologies for my any crassness, what I mean is  lets not get into a tits waving competitions then. (my man boobs aren't all that to be honest!)

What do you mean when it counted? So when English teams couldn't make it out of the group stages it didn't count? Perhaps you refer to Saracens beating Leinster in the QF for example?. Do you mean the Saracens team who where preparing for nothing else but that game for months on end  because they had nothing else on the line to play for after being relegated from their domestic competition for cheating months ago?

Stop with the tribalism. I can admit on the day Saracens where the better team, they played better and deserved to win and nothing else matters. There will always be some time teams with certain advantages, perhaps the English clubs should agree to lower there club operating budgets to the the average of the Pro 14 teams or perhaps the English teams should be only allowed selection from the same size player pool as some of the Pro 14 nations. Perhaps we should all moan about the massive budgets the French teams have that dward both the Pro 14 and Gallagher teams operating budgets?

England and English clubs will always have inherent advantage over Irish, Welsh and Scottish national and club team because of the vastly bigger player base and also because of the vastly bigger spectator base you will always have more sponsorship and TV money. This means if English rugby's house is in order it will win more often than looses even if all the other home unions have there house in order at the same time. I'm not diminishing English rugby by saying that, they have fielding some brilliant teams and brilliant players over the year. I'd just wish the English could accept the odd years they lose with a bit of grace and not be such whingers and excuse makers about it.

Tell me what alternative do SA teams have at this point?

Sep 30, 2020, 21:52

Stav, I don't  think it's only about accommodating SA teams.  As an Irishman, don't you look forward to more and better South African teams in the Pro-?...I know that I am very much interested in how things would pan out in such a competition...and I can see quite a few interesting challenges up ahead...

Sep 30, 2020, 22:16

I've always been opposed to playing in Europe.

Rugby is a winter game. We need to play against the other southern hemisphere countries at both international and provincial level. 

The old Super 12 format was great and Super Rugby only started going downhill when the greedy suits started chucking in more teams and creating conferences. We should stick to our Currie Cup until Covid allows us to play a Super 12 type format again.

It's tough on the Jaguares but they play pretty much as national team anyway and they're more than welcome to join us in the Rugby Championship that doesn't need to be changed.

Sep 30, 2020, 23:14


I agree I think its in for for the benefit of all involved both north and south . And as an Irishman DbDradd indeed I do look forward to seeing the best SA has to offer. It will really enhance the quality and the prestige of the Pro 14 league to have the best club teams from the reigning world champion nation and joint most successfully rugby nation on the planet in it. More than that after hearing Siya Kolisi speech after winning the world cup, it would be honor to have top South African rugby teams involved in the league.

Oct 01, 2020, 01:59

The main thing that will be missed from the New Zealand teams, in particular, is a fast skilful high tempo game.
The Northern Hemisphere conditions certainly impact the style of play- even when many of the teams have lots of Southern Hemisphere players.

Hopefully, a global rugby season is created - and the hemispheres meet in the middle. 

December to February is a mud bath in Europe.
SA and Australia can get too hot in summer. 

So having a global season from March to 30th November would be a better option. 

If so, the improved summer pitches in the Northern Hemisphere would allow a faster style of rugby. Then more New Zealand players would move over to the Northern Hemisphere- and the Southern Hemisphere will be less of a factor. 

Oct 01, 2020, 11:35

Well the pro 14 might be a low standard comp, but they were able to get an investment of $120 million, so there is a lot of money. 

The next entry point will be to get our teams in the Champions cup where all of the money currently resides. 

But I think the Pro 14 teams would want to stop SA teams in European comp as a few of them would lose out. 

The UK leagues has no money, they make their money only playing stupid cup comps 

Oct 01, 2020, 15:09

The came investment group CVC who put £120 million into the Pro 14 also invested £200 million into the English league. It owns a 28% stake in both.

There is no salary cap in the Pro 14. In the English league it was capped at £7 million but that's been reduced to £5 million due to the pandemic. However its been known for a while that several English clubs are in bad financial shape.

In the Pro 14, while there is no salary cap, they clubs generally do operate on smaller budgets than the English clubs with the exception of Leinster who actually exceed them and Munster and Ulster are around about the same as the top English clubs.

From what I can see there is more money in the Pro 14 than in Super Rugby.

I don't think  the Pro 14 teams will mind at all if the SA teams are eligible to take Champions Cup qualification spots. Infact its needed to make the league stronger.

Oct 01, 2020, 20:21

The Government is indicating it will bail out the game of Rugby Union ...well, the taxpayer will. 

How they have squandered the cash is beyond me. 

Chances are they will just go for lower paid locals than highly expensive recruits. 

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