Cheetahs sceptical about Cats

    2012-05-08 22:19
    Cape Town - Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster says it would be tough to go back to forming the Cats franchise for next year's Super Rugby tournament.

    SARU has promised the Southern Kings direct entry into next year's event, which means either the Cheetahs or Lions (SA's weakest Super teams) would need to drop out.

    SARU though are keen to convince SANZAR to expand the competition to 16 teams which will accommodate six South African teams.

    However, SANZAR CEO Greg Peters recently shunned the idea.

    "We were informed that the Kings will play in the tournament next year. But a structural change is highly unlikely," Peters was quoted as saying.

    "It's too early to consider a change to a format that's currently successful.

    "There's also not enough time to consider a change in the format for next year. It’s a big discussion to have when the new structure is only 18 months old," said Peters.

    SANZAR's stance was always that the format will be marketed as one with three groups with an equal amount of teams in it. It should stay like that until 31 December 2015.

    Recent talks in the media have suggested that the Cheetahs and Lions should merge to again form the Cats franchise (which they played under from 1998-2005).

    But Verster is not overly impressed with the suggestion.

    "We are very calm about our Super-franchise. We serve the whole central region (Griquas, Free State and Northern Free State/Griffons) and just need to keep on winning.

    "We saw in the past that it is practically and logistically very tough (to form the Cats franchise," Verster told Volksblad.

    Lions coach John Mitchell though said earlier this week that the Cats idea could work, providing they find a strong leader.

    Representatives of SARU will meet with the five Super unions plus the Kings in Johannesburg on May 17 to further discuss the matter.

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