PRO14 Boss Confirms Plans To Add Two More Teams To Competition

Expansion.

PRO14 chief executive Martin Anayi has confirmed they hope to continue their recent expansion of the competition with the addition of two further teams.

South African franchises the Cheetahs and Kings were added to the tournament at the start of last season, with the former impressing, finishing third in their conference to reach the finals stages.

But Anayi says their not done yet, with plans for a PRO16 in place. Both sides would likely come from South Africa once again. The Sharks, the Lions and the Stormers have all been linked, with Anayi stating more teams will allow them to actually play less games.

“We are on record as saying we want to keep on expanding.” Anayi told WalesOnline’s Simon Thomas.

“We go through a check list of main items when it comes to prospective teams and if all the boxes are ticked – the business case, the fan case, the competitive case – we look at it.”

“South Africa makes a lot of sense for us from a structural point of view, so we will definitely look at them again. We have got to grow the league in a way that is sustainable and workable.”

“I think the best number for our competition is 16. Strange as it may sound, that will actually allow us to play less rugby.”

“Going to 16 sides would make that possible. We have worked it out. Having changed our format, we can be a little more flexible.”

Anayi also says the goal is to play as less rugby as possible during international weekend. He believes this will reduce the load on players.

“We do believe we need wherever possible to move away from international weekends and play slightly less rugby overall.” Anayi added

“That way we have fewer matches where the star names are absent and we reduce the load on players generally.”

“Tadhg Beirne played 36 matches last season. He is at the peak of his game, but how long can he stay at the peak if he keeps on playing that much.”