Losing SA teams in Super Rugby would be a 'disaster'
Cape Town - Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says it would be a 'disaster' if Super Rugby lost its South African teams.
With the current 18-team competition structure having received widespread criticism over the past two seasons, SANZAR is expected to announce a new-look structure in the coming days that will take shape from 2018.
That restructuring could see three teams axed from the competition, with the Cheetahs and Kings the likeliest of the South African teams to go.
In 2016 Super Rugby included the Kings, Japan's Sunwolves and Argentina's Jaguares, and despite the continued struggles of the Sunwolves it could be that South Africa loses two sides while one Australian franchise gets the chop.
It has led to speculation that South Africa should look up north for a new home, ditching Super Rugby by getting involved in a brand new competition with northern hemisphere sides that could have more financial potential.
But Rennie says coming to the "Republic" is one of Super Rugby's great challenges, and losing the opportunity to play against South African teams would severely hurt the tournament.
"The only ones saying it should be an Australasian competition are the Australians," Rennie told media in Cape Town on Wednesday ahead of his side's clash against the Stormers on Saturday.
"In the end, that's what makes Super Rugby special. You travel to the Republic. I think the reason the All Blacks are successful against South Africa is because you've got guys coming here and playing at altitude and so on.
"It'll be a disaster if South African teams weren't involved in Super Rugby.
"I know they're trying to fatten it (Super Rugby) out a bit. They've brought in the Jaguares and the Sunwolves, but you want to make sure that this is a premium competition in the world.
"There will be a couple of teams culled, I think. It would make those countries stronger. South Africa and Australia losing one side would be better for those countries long-term.
"The Australian sides are propped up by a lot of Africans and Kiwis."