‘PRO14 – not Super Rugby – is best competition for South African teams to play in’

No sooner is Franco Smith on the phone from the 27°C Bloemfontein is he asking about Tuesday’s weather in Ireland. Participating in a rugby tournament that encompasses north and south hemispheres can offer climatic challenges, but the Cheetahs coach is taking everything about the fledgling experiment of South African sides in the PRO14 in his stride. 

It sounds onerous preparing for an 18-night, three-match tour taking his team to Galway, Llanelli and Dublin. It’s their fourth of five trips this season across the equator, but Smith insists this schedule is preferable to the Super Rugby start awaiting this weekend’s travelling South African franchises. 

The Sharks kick-off with a visit to Singapore, a six-hour jump ahead in time followed by a six-hour reverse back…

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