Southern Kings to play Super Rugby from 2013

South African Rugby Officials have confirmed that the Southern Kings will be included in Super Rugby from 2013.

The announcement was made at the appointment of the new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

While SARugby announced that the Southern Kings will be included in Super Rugby from 2013 they have not yet confirmed how this will be done.

Super Rugby adopted a new format in 2011 made up of three equal conferences containing five teams for a total of 15 teams.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux has suggested that South Africa could field six teams in their geographic conference but the likelyhood is that one of the current South African teams will drop out.

As the Southern Kings have now been gauranteed a place in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament SARU will hold a Special General Meeting on March the 30th to identity the four other South African Super Rugby franchises.

“The decision to include the Southern Kings in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament was unanimously confirmed by the members,” said Roux.

“We will now look at the options to identify the other entrants to the competition, which will include further discussions with our SANZAR partners on the possibility of including a sixth South African team in the competition.

“The Unions will also be making their own recommendations and the outcome of those discussions and other proposals will be tabled for the Executive Council and ultimately a General Meeting to consider.”

SANZAR who own and manage Super Rugby have signed and agreed a 15 team format with the broadcasters of the tournament until 2015 and it is unlikely that SANZAR will agree to South Africa having 6 teams as it would imbalance the conference.

A source close to SuperXV has suggested that the most likely plan scenario is to include the Kings for only 2013 and then a promotion and relegation system will be adopted thereafter. Teams will then have to qualify to play in Super Rugby.

The most likely early casualty from the Southern Kings inclusion in Super Rugby is the Cheetahs as the Lions won the Currie Cup in 2011 and they are believed to be in a better position than the Cheetahs.

The Lions however are currently fighting off rumours that they are about to go bankrupt and their former partners have recently started the legal process to claim back the funds they invested or loaned the Union.

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