Cape Town - SA Rugby is reportedly planning on forming two new franchises by the end of the year.
A tender process will begin on October 4, with the national rugby governing body looking to have eight professional teams with a four/four split between the southern and northern hemispheres.
At present, South Africa has four franchises (Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls) in Super Rugby and two (Cheetahs and Southern Kings) who play in Europe’s PRO14.
The two new franchises could play in Europe’s Anglo-Welsh Cup.
"We have four teams in SANZAAR; we have two in PRO14 and the other two will start to develop to play somewhere. Hopefully something like the Anglo-Welsh as a development tournament. At the right time in 2020 we can then make a decision on where our bases are,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in an interview with the New Zealand Herald.
Roux however emphasised that SA Rugby remains committed to SANZAAR beyond 2020.
“We believe we are as strong as we are because we play Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. We measure ourselves by those teams even though the north is getting better.”
Earlier this year there were calls for South African rugby teams to join the Anglo-Welsh Cup in Europe.
The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions.
According to BBC Sport, Premiership Rugby was investigating the possibility of introducing South African teams into the competition.
It’s not sure which two franchises SA Rugby is planning to form, but it may come from two Currie Cup Premier Division teams, Griquas and the Pumas.