Sharks chief executive Gary Teichmann has issued a firm rebuttal over claims the Super Rugby franchise had held talks over switching hemispheres to play in the PRO14.
Recent reports suggested the Durban-based outfit would cede their place in Super Rugby to join the PRO14 for the 2019-20 season, with fellow South African franchises the Stormers and Lions soon to follow – something written off by SANZAAR as ‘unsubstantiated and simply wrong’.
And Teichmann shares similar views as they look to compete against the elite of New Zealand.
“We enjoy having New Zealand teams here in Durban, there’s always a good rivalry between South African sides and New Zealand sides,” the former Springbok said after the Sharks beat the Highlanders 38-12 last weekend. “Let’s keep that going.”
“No discussions have been held in terms of looking at PRO14. I don’t know where that has come from,” Teichmann told Radio Sport.
The PRO14’s lucrative TV deal with Premier Sports has fuelled talk of Southern Hemisphere teams considering joining axed Super Rugby sides Southern Kings and Cheetahs in the league, given the 100% increase the new deal represents compared to the old.
South African conference leaders Lions have conceded that the lure of the PRO14 has created some food for thought.
Lions president Kevin de Klerk told the Telegraph: “Maybe ultimately, the millions of pounds on offer in Europe will influence the decision.
“There is nothing concrete at the moment. When this broadcasting deal comes to an end, there’s going to need to be some close negotiations with Sanzaar.
“From my point of view, I would like to see South Africa remain in Super Rugby, but the European currency is making it difficult.”
The Southern Kings and Cheetahs were axed from Super Rugby as the tournament organisers cut down the participating teams from 18 to 15, a ruling that also saw Australian side Western Force ousted.