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Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie confirms URC talks for the franchise

Frans Steyn of the Free State Cheetahs on the run in the Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on February 19 2022.
Frans Steyn of the Free State Cheetahs on the run in the Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on February 19 2022.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

Plans to get the Cheetahs back into the United Rugby Championship (URC) are afoot, the franchise has confirmed.

The Cheetahs have been out in the cold after being booted out of the Pro14 in 2020 alongside the now liquidated Southern Kings.

The two franchises left the competition to make way for SA’s premier franchises, the Sharks, Bulls, Lions and Stormers, who are all playing in the URC now.

The Cheetahs have been left to play in the Currie Cup and have been doing really well, winning all seven matches so far season.

But they are running the risk of losing their best players who want to test themselves against top stars in an international competition.

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has confirmed that there’s a meeting scheduled to take place towards the end of April to discuss a possibility of them getting a spot in the URC.

“That’s not in our hands, SA Rugby has got to come to the party there,” Fourie said.

“There’s a meeting scheduled for the end of April with a lot of role players for sort of a B Division of the URC.

“They will call it the United Rugby Shield. We’ve been promised since September 2020 that this will happen. We are two years down the line, so it’s a long time for us but it looks promising.

“We really hope that they will pull it off and finalise it at the end of the month.”

Fourie hopes this development will help convince Frans Steyn, 34, to extend his stay with the Bloemfontein-based franchise beyond his current contract.

“I’m confident that he will stay with us. He enjoys Bloem because he is staying next to his family and the farm.

“He is enjoying his life and rugby in Bloemfontein and I’m confident that he will stay with us beyond his current contract,” Fourie said.


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