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SA rugby should not ditch Super Rugby - Cheetahs c

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    Posted: 16-Jul-2019 at 3:20pm

Playing in Europe may seem a lucrative and viable option, but South Africa should always aim to have teams plying their trade in the southern hemisphere.

That is the view of new Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie, who spoke exclusively to Sport24 on the matter.

The Cheetahs and the Southern Kings have been playing in the European PRO14 competition for the past two seasons and there have been talks in recent times that South African Super Rugby teams the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls could join the PRO14.

ALSO READ: New coach on why Ruan Pienaar is a perfect fit for Cheetahs

From a logistical and monetary perspective, it would make sense.

South African teams bear the brunt of the travel burden to Australasia every year and the lure of the Euro cannot be overlooked.

However, Fourie feels it's important for South African rugby to keep some of their teams in Super Rugby.

"Logistically it would probably make sense to a lot of teams but I believe there's a lot of worth in playing Super Rugby, by playing against New Zealand teams.

"The travel factor is tough but you have to compete with the best in the world to be able to measure yourself," Fourie said.

Fourie said there were promising signs from the South African teams against their Kiwi counterparts in this year's Super Rugby competition. 

"I believe our teams were busy catching up (this season). The Sharks had a few good games against some of the New Zealand teams - they drew against the Crusaders, as did the Stormers. The Bulls did really well away from home against the Hurricanes in the quarter-finals. 

"So, it shows that we do have the players to compete with them in the World Cup and I believe that it will be important for a guy like Rassie (Erasmus, Bok coach) that the South African teams still play Super Rugby, and not all of them in the northern hemisphere."

Fourie will replace Franco Smith as Cheetahs coach for the 2019/20 PRO14 season, with the latter moving on to coach Italy's national team.

Fourie is no stranger to Bloemfontein, having been the team's backline coach between 2007 and 2014.

He then became the head coach of Griquas, before moving to Maties for four seasons.

The Stellenbosch students flourished under Fourie's guidance, reaching the Varsity Cup final in his first two seasons before winning back-to-back titles.

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