Cheetahs CEO all but confirms team's addition to PRO12 rugby

Harold Verster says we could hear an announcement regarding the PRO12′s mooted expansion as soon as Saturday.

A WEEK AFTER the Cheetahs and Southern Kings waived their rights to continue in Super Rugby, Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster has seemingly confirmed that his side and their compatriots from Port Elizabeth will join the PRO12 from next season.

Speaking on South Africa’s OFM, Verster described the split from Super Rugby as ‘amicable’, and described the Cheetahs’ prospective move to what was once the Celtic League as ‘a wonderful opportunity’.

“Yes, it’s actually a big change in our life and in our business,” Verster said, “but we’ve opted to settle with SA Rugby rather than fight the issue in court. And we’ve got a contract ’til 2020 to stay in Super Rugby, but we’ve negotiated a very amicable solution, and there is a wonderful opportunity up north where the Free State Cheetahs and the Kings will play.

“It will bring something new to the table broadcasting wise, it will be easier to travel and so on, so we’re excited about the new venture.”

Verster indicated to OFM that the PRO12 could make the official announcement as soon as this Saturday, but that until then, he couldn’t elaborate much further as to the finer details of the expansion.

“Unfortunately they have opted to make the release themselves, once everything is in place. That will be around about the 15th of July, once their board is in place. It’s a company and SA Rugby will be joining and be a part of the company as shareholders.

“Once those things have settled they will make the big announcement as to exactly where, when and how it will work. It will be up north and it is very exciting for us. It will slot us out of Super Rugby, but I think that it will be very beneficial for us.”

Somewhat fittingly, the Cheetahs face the Southern Kings this weekend in what will be both franchises final games in Super Rugby.

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