PRO14 breaks new ground for world rugby

The Cheetahs and Southern Kings, pictured playing each other in July, joined the PRO14 in 2017. Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The Cheetahs and the Southern Kings will be South Africa's trailblazers in the Northern Hemisphere when the revamped PRO14 tournament kicks off.

The two former Super Rugby teams will debut in the PRO14 next month with 12 clubs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy in a radical departure for global rugby.

"This is a momentous day for rugby - as significant as the launch of the Super 12 tournament, 21 years ago," said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

"We are breaking new ground with a number of global firsts: this is the first cross-hemisphere domestic club competition; the first time we will have played summer rugby in South Africa and the first experiment in aligning a season in the south with that of the north.

"Our eyes are on the bigger picture, which is new horizons and new opportunities for South African rugby and our PRO14 partners. We look forward to this adventure and building something special."

The PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi says they are looking forward to having the two South African teams, who like to play an attacking brand of rugby, to grow their brand even more.

"It's a momentous day for us to arrive in South Africa and get a sense of the excitement around the introduction of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings into the PRO14," Anayi said.

"The work we have achieved to expand our Championship is a great credit to SA Rugby, the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings. We have already seen the incredible interest from across Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales after our announcement about expansion and it's great to see that replicated here in South Africa.

"This is a ground-breaking feat and a true first in world rugby as we will see north versus south compete on a regular basis in the PRO14.

"Rugby supporters in South Africa and across our existing nations are in for a real treat this season and we can't wait for the Championship to kick what will be an historic campaign."