SA Rugby has no intention of pulling out of its Sanzaar alliance with Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, according to CEO Jurie Roux.
“It’s a pipedream for a lot of people,” Roux told the New Zealand Herald. “Why would Sanzaar allow us to pick the cherries and then leave all of our partners to fight for themselves? If I told [NZ Rugby boss] Steve Tew I’ll see you for two months of the year and then I’ll go pick the riches of the north it would be a very tough negotiation. Sanzaar would say go play in the Six Nations.”
SA Rugby has done just that on a regional level, sending the Cheetahs and Kings to play in Europe’s PRO14 competition. But Roux denied this was a blueprint that could be applied to the Springboks.
“That’s a whole new conversation because we are only into the Celtic league at the moment,” he said. “I don’t see any of them allowing us in their competitions anytime soon, so I don’t think it’s realistic.
“We believe we are as strong as we are because we play Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. We measure ourselves by those teams even though the north is getting better. We are committed to Sanzaar beyond 2020.”
Roux did confirm an imminent tender process for two additional South African “franchises” to be deployed in Europe.
“We have four teams in Sanzaar; we have two in Pro14 and the other two will start to develop to play somewhere – hopefully something like the Anglo-Welsh (Cup) as a development tournament. At the right time in 2020, we can then make a decision on where our bases are.”