Cape Town - Chiefs coach Colin Cooper says it is difficult to imagine a Super Rugby competition without the participation of South African teams.
The New Zealanders are in Cape Town where they are preparing for Saturday's clash against the Stormers at Newlands.
There has been a noticeable frustration, particularly among South African supporters, over the current state of Super Rugby.
Crowd attendances remain a problem, though the Stormers and Bulls did pull over 30 000 people to Newlands last weekend, while the perceived inconsistency when it comes to officiating has also left consumers frustrated.
Then, earlier this week, SANZAAR was forced to squash rumours that South Africa's franchises were plotting their exit from the competition for more lucrative options up north at the end of the current broadcast deal, which runs until 2020.
Lions president Kevin de Klerk was also quoted this week as saying that the money on offer from Europe could impact on the future of South African franchises.
For Cooper, though, Super Rugby just wouldn't be the same without the South African sides.
"I can't imagine that," Cooper said.
"I don't know what it is, but Super Rugby has been around for so long and South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have really formed the competition.
"All the countries, particularly South Africa and New Zealand, have been rewarded for the tough competition that it is.
"The travel is probably the negative of the competition, but I'm sure the people above (SANZAAR) can organise it so that the travel is not such a major factor."
Cooper stopped short, though, of saying that there were concerns over the quality of the Super Rugby product as a whole.
"I don't sense that frustration from the public," he said.
Public perceptions aside, Cooper believes that the South African teams have improved significantly this year.
"They're looking dangerous," he said.
"I think all the South African teams are playing a more balanced game with expansiveness and using their set piece.
"I think South African rugby is looking exciting and looking good."
Chiefs tour squad:
Karl Tu'inukuafe, Sam Prattley, Angus
Ta'avao-Matau, Jeffrey Thwaites, Sosefo Kautai, Nathan Harris, Liam
Polwart, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Brodie Retallick, Tyler Ardron, Luke
Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula, Michael Allardice, Liam Messam, Jesse
Parete, Matt Matich
Brad Weber, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Jonathan
Taumateine, Damian McKenzie, Marty McKenzie, Solomon Alaimalo, Johnny
Faauli, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai, Sean Wainui, Alex
Nankivell, Shaun Stevenson, Toni Pulu