SuperSport has acquired the broadcast rights, which include a range of matches in the re-designed tournament which now boasts participation by the Kings and Currie Cup champions the Toyota Cheetahs. The Kings debut against Pro14 champions the Scarlets of Wales in Llanelli on Saturday (SS1, 6.30pm).
The Cheetahs’ opening match in the ground-breaking Guinness PRO14 tournament, against Ulster in Belfast, will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 this weekend (Friday, 8.35pm), the broadcaster announced on Thursday.
In Wales Southern Kings Captain Michael Willemse said; “It’s a massive honor for me to be captaining this side. I’m lucky enough to have guys like Schalk, Kurt and Luzuko, to name a few, with a lot of experience and great leadership abilities around me that I can turn to if need be. I look very forward to the opportunity!”
“There’s a serious amount of excitement coming from camp. The guys have put in a lot of hard work and bought into some proper sessions to make sure we’ve ticked all the boxes. We feel ready.”
“Well I can certainly say that we’re going to go out there and give it our best shot. We’re excited to be here and be able to compete but we want to perform. We’ve done our homework and preparation and hopefully that shows when we run out onto the pitch. We will run when we get a shot at it, but most importantly for us is to play smartly.”
“As I said earlier, there’s a serious amount of excitement. The guys understand the great opportunity at hand and it’s driving us on. With that being said, there’s a real sense of desire and determination to do something special,” concluded Willemse.
“This is an exciting property that offers an entirely new flavour,” said Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport. “There’s a particular intrigue in northern hemisphere rugby and to be part of this pioneering change presents an array of possibilities, both for the teams and indeed SuperSport. We look forward to watching the action unfold from this weekend.”
SuperSport will produce select SA-based fixtures and take the overseas feed on other PRO 14 matches that will be broadcast.
“We’re delighted SuperSport have reached agreement to acquire the rights to broadcast the Guinness PRO14,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “This is a fascinating and ground-breaking change for rugby and I am sure people will be keen to tune in and see how the hemispheres measure up against each other in club competition. SuperSport have given us a ring side seat and we’re already looking forward to Friday night’s inaugural broadcast.”
Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby, said: “We’re delighted to have SuperSport join our stable of broadcasters in the Guinness PRO14. SuperSport are recognised as one of the world’s premier sports broadcasters and it is fantastic to have them involved in telling the story of our Championship.
“We’ve already seen how the addition of the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings has energised players, coaches and fans in the north and the south and we can’t wait to see that enthusiasm out on the pitch. Rugby fans have always wanted to see true north v south battles in club rugby and now they will get that.”
The PRO14 is an annual competition, one of the three major professional leagues in Europe, and involves teams from Ireland (four), Italy (two), Scotland (two), Wales (four) and SA (two).
The tournament begins this weekend and concludes with the final in Dublin on May 26, 2018.