Challenge for transition to PRO14 is massive and exciting - Cheetahs managing director

Cheetahs and Southern Kings in action
Cheetahs and Southern Kings in action

Cheetahs managing director Harold Verster is excited by the challenges ahead of their move to Pro 14 league for the upcoming season.

Cheetahs along with Kings were axed from the Super Rugby competition at the end of the previous season, leaving them to explore opportunities with the Northern Hemisphere competition of Pro 12.

With Currie Cup set to carry on until the end of October and the Pro 12 kick starting on 1st September, Verster admitted that it will be a challenge for the club at least in the first season to adapt to the new competition.

“It’s a huge challenge but it’s exciting, too. In two weeks we play in our first Pro 14 game [against Ulster on September 1] and over the same days we’re playing against Western Province and the Sharks.

“We can’t complain because we’ve got something special going on here.”

According to the fixtures scheduled, Cheetahs will take on Lions in Bloemfontein on 26th August before moving to Ireland to take on Ulster on 1st September and Munster on 9th September.

Cheetahs will also face Sharks and Western Province on 2nd and 9th September respectively with the second game clashing with the encounter against Munster.

Verster said former Cheetahs captain Rory Duncan will take in charge of the squad for their Ireland fixtures while former Springbok prop and forwards coach Daan Human will be in charge of the team in Currie Cup.

With financial support from South Africa Rugby that has helped Cheetahs boost the squad to 55 members and hire professional coaches, they are looking to get a grip of the new schedule.

Verster also admitted that once the Currie Cup and November internationals come to a conclusion, the squad will be in a much better shape.

“From November 1 until May there’ll be no overlapping.

"By January our Boks and injured players will be back. We should be a lot stronger then, but we must hang in there for now.

“We get extra TV rights income because of Pro 14 and we’ve signed a new South Africa- and Europe-based sponsor, who wants exposure in the UK, and we’re hoping to sign one or two more.”