THE EXPANDED PRO12 AND THE EUROPEAN QUALIFICATION QUESTION


There is a big question with the expansion of the Pro12 to accommodate two South African teams from next season. The league is set to be amended to the Pro14 with two conferences of seven teams.


The formats are still being discussed but for now the top seven sides are expected to make the Champions Cup regardless of the nationality in question. The next five are expected to make the Challenge Cup.

It remains unclear if the South African sides that are joining the league would be allowed to partake in the European affair. With the current situation, how would the qualification for the European premier tournament be decided?

For now the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has not discussed with the African sides on joining the tournaments.

β€œAt the present time, neither the EPCR executive committee nor board has been involved in formal discussions concerning the implications of clubs from non-European countries entering into one of the three European professional leagues,” a statement from the body reads.

The EPCR added that it would require permission from stakeholders before it could make decisions regarding access to the competitions. The 2017/2018 expanded Pro14 league season is due to take off in the first week of September but there are questions that are yet to be answered.

On the side, Celtic Rugby reveal that they are in discussions with the South African Rugby Union regarding the introduction of two teams to the Pro12 Championship.

β€œGiven the proximity of the 2017/18 season start, a final decision of this potential expansion will be confirmed as soon as practical,” the statement from Celtic Rugby reads.