Ruan Pienaar during a Pro14 game between the Cheetahs and the Kings back in February. Frikkie Kapp/INPHO
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Pro14 reduced to 12 teams as South African clubs miss out for new campaign

In the wake of the Southern Kings announcing their withdrawal, tournament organisers have today release a statement on the matter.

PRO14 ORGANISERS ARE planning to begin the new season with just 12 teams, it has been announced today. 

The tournament restarted for the first time since March over the weekend with six all-Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian fixtures played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier today, the Southern Kings revealed their withdrawal from the competition due to financial problems

Now it has been confirmed that the other South African side — the Cheetahs — will not return in 2020 either. 

“Pro14 Rugby is aware of the Southern Kings voluntary decision to withdraw from any domestic competitions in South Africa for the rest of the 2020 calendar year,” today’s statement reads. 

“Due to on-going travel restrictions enforced by the South African government against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not foreseen that any cross-border Guinness Pro14 games involving South Africa teams will take place until 2021.

Pro14 Rugby remains in discussion with SA Rugby on when South African participation in the league can resume in the new year.

“Work is already underway to concentrate the opening 2020/21 fixtures among the 12 European-based clubs.”

In 2017, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs joined their northern hemisphere counterparts as the Pro12 was expanded to the Pro14. 

The current season is due to end with the Grand Final on 12 September, with the 2020/21 campaign provisionally scheduled to kick off the weekend of 3 October. 

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