The Cheetahs and the Kings will not play Super Rugby in 2018. SA Rugby confirmed the news on Friday, with the Cheetahs having agreed to a settlement.
Both the Kings and the Cheetahs agreed that they would be seeking other international opportunities, with a move to the Pro12 in Europe reportedly an option.
The Cheetahs had an agreement in place to play Super Rugby until 2020, but the board of the franchise decided on an amicable settlement with SA Rugby.
“The board of the Cheetahs has reviewed the team’s future and is extremely positive about the prospect of appearing in alternative international competitions,” Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster said.
“It will be an exciting challenge for our players, supporters and commercial partners and will be the start of a new chapter for rugby both in our region and in South Africa. Also, it will allow the Cheetahs to carve out a new and prominent place on the rugby map in South Africa as well as internationally.”
The announcement was made before a Special General Meeting of SA Rugby in Cape Town on Friday which will formally confirm South Africa’s four participants in the competition next season.
The meeting was called to determine SA’s entrants to fall in line with a SANZAAR decision to reduce the competition’s participants from 18 to 15 teams from next season.
The new structure will comprise four teams from South Africa, five from New Zealand, four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan.
An announcement on the opportunities for the Cheetahs and Kings is expected shortly.
Friday’s General Meeting will continue as scheduled as SA Rugby still have the constitutional responsibility to confirm SA’s entrants in the competition.