Six-team Currie Cup for 2012
Johannesburg - Only the country's six best teams will contest next year's Currie Cup Premier Division, while the remaining eight unions will slug it out in the First Division.
This decision was already taken last year by the president's council of the South African Rygby Union (SARU). The decision is still valid, even though the rugby governing body's structures have changed in the meantime.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins has confirmed to Rapport
that the provincial unions' presidents had already last year agreed to change the format of the Currie Cup Premier Division for 2012 from eight to six teams. Rapport
did report this at the time.
This decision has been made because next year's Super Rugby competition only concludes in August, as the competition will break for local Springbok Test matches in June and the Tri-Nations - which include nine Tests. The same will apply for 2013 and 2014.
After the first season of the six-team Currie Cup, the team finishing last in the Premier Division will play the winner of the First Division in a promotion-relegation match-up every year.
In an attempt to ensure that rugby won't suffer amongst the First Division teams, SARU has promised to assist them financially in the future.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Province Kings' participation in the Super Rugby competition from 2013 onwards remain a big problem area for SARU.
SARU hoped that South Africa would be able to field a sixth team in Super Rugby from 2013, but it does not appear to be an option anymore.
According to reliable sources, SARU is now looking at trying to include the sixth South African franchise in one of the Northern Hemisphere's competitions.
But South Africa's five current Super Rugby teams are by no means assured of their place in the competition. If the Kings insist on a place in the competition from 2013, the Cheetahs and Lions could lose their Super-status, or they could be forced - like in the past when they played as the Cats - to play as one team.