Edinburgh welcome ‘formidable’ PRO14 plans
Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill and Managing Director Douglas Struth today welcomed the challenge of four new and high-profile South African opponents in the New Year.
Earlier today PRO14 Rugby announced the current campaign will end in March to allow South Africa’s four ‘Super’ sides to join Celtic and Italian teams in a new 16-team 'Rainbow Cup' competition ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour.
The new cup competition will feature the best of the Springbok talent representing the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers going toe-to-toe with some of the British & Irish Lions’ headline acts – every one of them keen to lay down a marker to their respective selectors.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “This is really exciting news for the future of the competition, our club, the coaches and players, and I’m sure the supporters will be really excited by it too.
“Soon we’ll be testing ourselves against the best sides in South Africa – big names globally in rugby terms – and their Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks, which is a great challenge for any player.
"It’s the kind of opportunity any professional would welcome and seek out."
The announcement sits neatly alongside the ongoing development of the Edinburgh's new, purpose-built stadium, which rests near-completion on the back pitches of BT Murrayfield.
The club’s first permanent home since joining the professional ranks in 1996 will host close to 8,000 supporters in close proximity to the on-field action, with South Africa’s top teams now part of the increasingly tantalising future for the club.
Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, said: “Today’s news is a positive step for our fans, sponsors and partners.
“In difficult and complex circumstances, we now have welcome clarity as to what we are playing for and how we will conclude this current season. The tournament organisers have worked hard to retain the integrity of this season. Today’s news also lays the ground to welcome four new formidable South African opponents.
“Our new competitors are of the very highest calibre which – combined with our brand-new stadium – makes for a very exciting future for our fans, sponsors and partners, who we can’t wait to welcome back through the turnstiles again just as soon as we are able to do so.”