Cape Town - Former Springbok fullback Thinus Delport says the PRO14's newcomers, the Southern Kings and Cheetahs will improve as the tournament progresses.
Both teams started their PRO14 campaigns on low notes last weekend, with the Kings thumped 57-10 by the Scarlets in Llanelli and the Cheetahs going down 42-19 to Ulster in Belfast.
In a video clip posted on BBC Sport, Delport said he expected the Kings to be a work in progress.
“With the Kings you’re probably looking at a two-year project. So come year two, they’ll be a lot more competitive. I think they’ll also have a bit of access to players that have finished the Currie Cup. So come January, February time, I think you’re going to see a different Kings side and a different attitude to the tournament,” the UK-based former Bok said.
According to Delport, the Cheetahs and Kings could cash in when the other PRO14 teams lose their frontline players for parts of the competition.
“You’ve got to factor in the northern hemisphere sides losing players for the autumn internationals. There will be European Champions Cup, then it’s leading into the Six Nations. So, for that time period - from November until February, March - that’s where the potential wins for the Cheetahs and Kings will be coming about, when the teams are travelling out to South Africa because the playing conditions are going to be totally different out there."
The 42-year-old Delport played 18 Tests for the Springboks between 2000 and 2003.