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Roux and Rassie to add to PRO 14 decision making

16 April 2018 - 14:54 By Craig Ray
South African Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
South African Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.

South African rugby ties to the northern hemisphere have been strengthened with the addition of Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus and chief executive Jurie Roux to the PRO 14 board.

This is the next logical step in the relationship that started last year with the inclusion of the Southern Kings and Cheetahs into the PRO 14 tournament.

Martin Anayi‚ chief executive of PRO 14‚ made it clear when the two SA teams join the competition that expansion would not stop there.

Anayi called it “an expansion tournament” at the time with the aim of PRO 14 to grow into other markets such as the USA.

It might also have room for one or two more SA teams‚ with the Pumas out of Nelspruit among the possible candidates.

“To have the CEO and the Director of Rugby of another Tier 1 nation join the Board is another important step forward for the PRO14 Rugby and for the relationship with South African rugby‚” said Anayi. “We have made great strides this season in expanding into a new territory in keeping with the DNA of the championship as a pioneering cross-border competition and these appointments only serve to re-enforce that progress.”

Roux said: “Our expansion into the Guinness PRO14 in 2017 heralded a new era for South African rugby and was one of the most exciting new ventures in a long time in our game.

“I am looking forward to working even more closely together with our friends from Wales‚ Scotland‚ Ireland and Italy as rugby moves closer to a global calendar and the game becomes even more accessible to new and untapped markets.”

The quality of the league has been highlighted with three PRO 14 teams – Munster‚ Leinster and the Scarlets‚ making it into the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup.

Currently‚ no SA teams are eligible for the lucrative European competition even if they qualify through PRO 14‚ as the French and English leagues also share in governing that tournament.

It’s one issue that needs to be resolved to add further incentive for the competing SA teams.

Erasmus‚ who coached Irish province Munster Rugby‚ said: “I had the privilege of coaching in the Guinness PRO14‚ and it found it to be very competitive and hugely popular.

"To serve on the Board will be a great honour and I am looking forward to working with the other directors. “The competition has opened a new door to South African players and coaches‚ with our two franchise teams playing against some of the best players in Europe on a weekly basis and in very different weather conditions.

"We can only benefit from our involvement in this competition.”