SA Rugby have announced that the Mpumalanga and Griqualand West Rugby Unions had been identified as the preferred candidates to assume places in inter-continental competitions, should opportunities arise.
The two unions were selected from a list of four bidders in a process assessed and determined by independent consultants. The unsuccessful bidders were combinations of the Leopards, Valke and Griffons Rugby Unions and of the Boland, Border and SWD unions.
South African rugby already fields teams in the southern hemisphere Vodacom Super Rugby competition and the European-centred, Guinness PRO14.
Discussions have additionally taken place with various entities about potentially fielding teams in other international competitions. Any announcements in that regard will only be made on the completion of contractual negotiations.
The appearance of the Pumas and Griquas in any new competitions would also be dependent on their agreement to licensing terms and conditions, said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
“This is an important first step to further expanding the international reach of South African rugby and gives us time to have them properly prepared should future opportunities become available,” he said.
“There are discussions taking place but we are some way from confirming any new opportunities. That process is likely to continue well into 2018 before we have any finality.”
The outcome of the assessment was announced to the SA Rugby General Meeting in Cape Town on Friday.