Exclusive: South Africa could choose two Test teams for different hemispheres

“I can promise you that if we had more teams to move [into Europe] at this stage then we would do so. There is a massive interest,” Roux explained.

“We envisage two more franchises in South African rugby in the near future with the opportunity to play in the north.

“There are only about three or four potential teams who could really [turn professional], based on the criteria of economic feasibility and sustainability, plus whether they have the support base and quality of players.”

Moving the Cheetahs and Kings to the Pro14, which had its official South African launch in Cape Town on Friday, keeps both franchises in top-tier rugby while opening South Africa up to a new market.

Brian O’Driscoll, the former Leinster player now working as a pundit for BT Sport, believes that the exposure of playing in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth will also give those players from the European sides rare and valuable international exposure at club level.

“I only ever played down in South Africa twice in my whole career, once with Ireland and once with the British and Irish Lions. You are playing in a different environment,” O’Driscoll explained. In the previous Pro12 as a young player, you might have not travelled any further away than Edinburgh or Zebre.

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