PRO12 Expands to PRO14 Rugby with South African Cheetahs and Kings

Teams will be included from the start of the 2017-18 season

via @Bloemfontein Courant

Celtic Rugby and the South African Rugby Union have today confirmed that the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings will join an expanded Guinness Pro14 tournament in time for the upcoming 2017/18 season.

The championship will be split into two seven-team conferences, each containing two Welsh teams, two Irish teams and one club from each of Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

In a joint statement the two bodies revealed that a “long-term strategic agreement” had been signed, believed to be for an initial six years.

“The agreement means that the Championship will take place across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and marks the first phase of expansion as the Guinness PRO14 becomes a truly global tournament,” the joint statement read.

“This move will contribute to the drive for ever higher standards that we demand across the tournament and provide greater resources to our clubs who will compete in the most testing environment the championship has ever created.

“We can also reassure supporters across the championship that all current home and away derby games have been protected — these fixtures are sacrosanct to the tournament and those tribal rivalries are just one element of what makes the Guinness PRO14 so special.”

PRO14 Rugby CEO had this to say on Twitter:

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