Mixed reaction in South African media to Cheetahs & Kings Pro12 move

There has been a mixed response from the South African media to losing two teams to the Guinness Pro12.

The reaction in the media closer to home is a mixed one, with some very excited about the move and others fairly pessimistic on the matter.

Recent speculation that there would be a reduction in derby games from 6 to 4 is unlikely to please the traditionalists in Ireland, Scotland and Wales who are in favour of the status quo.

There also seems to be some displeasure amongst rugby writers in South Africa with many displeased about losing two teams to the Northern Hemisphere. While some are clearly against the proposal, some feel it could be a good opportunity for the axed Super Rugby franchises and South African Rugby in general.

Below is some of the mixed reaction from journalists in South Africa

James Green (The South African)

“With all of the juggling that’s gone on by SANZAAR, ditching two South African teams and one Australian team, they hope to have a more even contest and a competition based on greater strength-v-strength. This is a sound rationale and SA Rugby was only going to benefit from using the savings from funding fewer teams to prop up the remaining four.

“Why the hell is SA Rugby allowing the jettisoned teams to go and frolick in the northern hemisphere, in adverse conditions, potentially travelling more often, away from SA for longer and at conflicting times to our season?

Surely the opportunity to consolidate the player groups would make more sense, by sifting out the guys who wouldn’t even be good enough to tie Malcolm Marx’s bootlaces?

“This would ensure less talent dilution and the Boks could be chosen from four strong teams.

“Also, through some clever, strategic (cheeky, if you will) contracting, some national team combinations could effectively be mirrored, giving them more game time together.

“Take the Cheetahs’ Raymond Rhule for example – he could go to the Lions and link up with other back three players Courtnall Skosan, Andries Coetzee and Ruan Combrinck. Even the Aussies, who can’t decide who to flick, are going to do this!

“And even if this player movement did happen, then the Cheetahs and Kings teams will simply be thrown to the wolves in the north.

“They’ll get spanked by the likes of Munster and the Ospreys week-on-week. Way to build confidence…”

Mark Keohane (Sport24)

“It’s a given the Kings and Cheetahs will be accommodated in the northern hemisphere and I believe both franchises will benefit from playing up north.

“I think South African rugby will also get great value from having two franchises in the northern hemisphere club structure and four in Super Rugby.

“The Kings and Cheetahs will also be more successful up north.

“The South African Rugby Union on Friday will confirm the Kings and Cheetahs exit from Super Rugby. It’s the worst kept secret in South African rugby but because of the alternative of there being life after Super Rugby it’s also a decision that should be embraced.”

Vata Ngonbeni (Pretoria News)

“It hurt that the Kings will no longer be part of Super Rugby and the many ignored and discarded black and coloured rugby players will have no place in South African rugby to showcase their skill and talents.

“I hurt because the Kings were the hope and only opportunity for black and coloured players and coaches to showcase what an inclusive rugby society in South Africa can do for the growth, sustainability and success of the game.

“I hurt because the white players in the Kings not only grasped and lived the concept of true transformation but have become better people for embracing what is perceived to be the “unknown” and “weakened” side of rugby.

“The Kings represent us, black and white, rich or poor, young and old and that eternal dream most of us have for this country.

“In the end a decision had to be made and two teams had to fall out.

“Whether it is a good or bad for South African rugby going forward is not for me to judge, but I am hopeful that something good will come from the Kings and Cheetahs playing in the northern hemisphere.

“But regardless of the reasoning before me, and knowing this day was coming, I must admit, it still hurts.”

Heinz Schenk (The Citizen)

“South African rugby can pat itself on the back all they want over the relatively pain-free way they chopped the Cheetahs and Kings from Super Rugby.

“It can pat itself on the back for ensuring those two teams still have a competition to play in – reportedly Europe’s Pro12 tournament.

“But the reality is it’s a decision that’s not in the long-term interests of South African rugby.

“There’s a reason why Super Rugby had to shrink again. And it’s a simple one: it’s lost all competitiveness.

“Indeed, South Africa’s best way of winning Super Rugby again is by only having four teams. However, it’s not going to help much if the Cheetahs and Kings still play overseas.

“What South African rugby needed is to have the best players at those two franchises accommodated at the other four teams. This whole exercise should’ve been to streamline South Africa’s player depth.

“Now we have the prospect of players chasing the riches of Europe without the guarantee of success.

“Let’s be honest, the Cheetahs are an exciting team but not necessarily a rounded one.

“They have the fourth poorest defence in 2017’s competition and their scrum has generally been suspect. Those aspects are cornerstones of being competitive in European conditions.”

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