The Pro14 confirmed to include Cheetahs and Kings

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Ox Nche PHOTO: NICOLETTE TALJAARD

The Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings inclusion into the expanded Pro12 rugby tournament is a done deal.

The tournaments organisers met in Dublin on Tuesday and it has been decided that competition will be expanded to become the Pro14 in order to accommodate the two South African franchises.

The six-year deal will benefit will an additional R102 million (£6 million) per season. All the elements of the deal have been agreed and all that remains it be done is for it to be legally ratified.

A high placed source within South African Rugby informed OFM Sport that this is indeed the case and an official announcement should be made by Wednesday (19 July 2017).

The competition which features team from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and now also South Africa will be made up of two conferences with seven teams each.

Each conference will have one team from South Africa, Scotland and Italy, and two teams each from Ireland and Wales.

The teams will play each other home and away, and will also play each team from the other conference once.

It is believed that one of the conditions is that the two South African teams must commit to continue to strengthen their sides, in order to up hold integrity of the competition and to remain competitive.

The first round of matches will kick-off on Saturday 2 September, and the final will be contest in late May 2018 at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales.

The teams that are already playing in the Pro12 are – Benetton Treviso, Cardiff Blues, Connacht, Dragons, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors, Leinster, Munster, Ospreys, Scarlets, Ulster and Zebre. – MORGAN PIEK