Veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has criticised SA Rugby for its treatment of the Cheetahs and Kings with regard to the teams’ future in the PRO14.
There is growing uncertainty about the Cheetahs and Kings’ continued participation in the PRO14, following reports that SA Rugby is working on a proposed plan to have its four current Vodacom Super Rugby franchises included in an expanded PRO16 tournament, at the expense of the Bloemfontein- and Port Elizabeth-based sides.
Early in the week, PRO14 rugby organisers also confirmed that the competition will proceed without the Cheetahs and Kings until at least 2021, as a direct result of the Kings’ decision to suspend all playing activities for the remainder of 2020 as well as the current travelling restrictions in place in South Africa.
Speaking to IOL Sport, Pienaar, who plies his trade for the Cheetahs, said it’s frustrating for players that SA Rugby has not shared its plans with the two unions and accused the national governing body of ‘hidden agendas’.
‘We are of course all worried about our futures and especially here at the Cheetahs we don’t even know where we’ll be playing next year, or if we’ll be playing,’ Pienaar said.
‘There’s really been nothing much from SA Rugby’s side, which is frustrating. Are you telling me none of them know what they want out of rugby next year? I believe there are hidden agendas at play and Covid-19 is being used to further those agendas.
‘I understand that financially things are tough in the rugby world and some big decisions need to be made, but really, it would be terribly sad if the Cheetahs didn’t feature in a competition of international standard. This region has produced some of the best players this country has seen, so it is a very worrying time for us here in central South Africa.
‘I just wish someone at SA Rugby would say what the plan is for the future – and be open about it.’
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