South Africa: SA's Top Teams to Play in Champions Cup From 2022 After Announcement of United Rugby Championship

analysis

As the sporting world learns to work around Covid-19, the PRO14 rugby organisation along with SA Rugby announced details of their combined rugby tournament on Tuesday -- the United Rugby Championship.

South Africa's integration into European rugby was cemented on Tuesday with the announcement of the 16-team United Rugby Championship (URC).

This new tournament replaces PRO14 and the Rainbow Cup and most importantly brings South Africa's leading teams closer to the goal of playing in the Heineken Champions Cup from 2022, rugby's equivalent of football's Champions League.

Ever since the southern hemisphere's Super Rugby died midway through 2020, it was always clear that South Africa's four leading provincial teams -- the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers -- were joining Europe's PRO14. But the competition structure and particularly the issue of whether South African teams would gain entry to the Champions Cup, were sticking points.

Those issues have been resolved in months of consultation with the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), which owns the Champions Cup. Eight teams from the URC will qualify for the Champions Cup with South Africa's participants only eligible from the 2022/23 season.

As importantly, this move now puts the Springboks on track to gain entry into...

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