The Eastern Province Kings will play in the Currie Cup First Division, if a proposal by SA Rugby is approved by members of the General Council.
The proposal has been circulated to the 13 provincial unions. They have until close of business on Tuesday to provide their response.
If it is approved the Leopards – who finished fourth in the qualifying competition – will replace the EP Kings and join the other qualifiers (Griquas, Boland and the Steval Pumas) in the Currie Cup Premier Division this season.
Eastern Province would join the Down Touch Griffons, South Western Districts, Border, Hino Valke and Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in the First Division.
“We realise the situation is not ideal but unfortunately we had little other option than to make this proposal,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“The Currie Cup remains a massively important part of the local rugby landscape and the solution for this year is the best for the competition while allowing the EP Kings to continue their participation.”
The change – if approved – would mean the Currie Cup Premier Division would be contested by the Xerox Golden Lions, DHL Western Province, Vodacom Blue Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Griquas, Boland, the Steval Pumas and the Leopards.
SA Rugby confirmed that following the Emirates Lions’ qualification for the Vodacom Super Rugby final on Saturday, their provisional Currie Cup schedule has been revised and the Xerox Golden Lions will have a bye this weekend.