Are South Africa’s premier rugby franchises preparing for a move to Europe that would effectively be the death of Super Rugby?

With the future of Super Rugby as uncertain as ever, South Africa’s premier rugby franchises could be set to join the PRO14. 
According to Hendrik Cronje in Rapport on Sunday, the Lions, Bulls, Stormers and Sharks could join the PRO14 as early as next year but by 2023 at the latest. 
The Cheetahs and Kings are already participating in that tournament.
According to the report, only five South African sides would be included in the tournament, meaning one of the abovementioned six could miss out despite the tournament expanding to a PRO18. 
With Super Rugby 2020 suspended as a result of the global fight against the coronavirus crisis, this has been an opportunity for Sanzaar to reflect and while the message out of the organisation has presented a united front, the mumblings of South African franchises cashing in for potentially more lucrative appearance fees in Europe has only gathered momentum. 
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and All Black Sam Cane have both been vocal on their thoughts that Super Rugby should move on without the South African franchises.
The travel restrictions are another factor, with flights to Europe considered easier to manage from a logistical point of view than flights to Australasia. 
A stumbling block to the move, however, could be the existing broadcast deal for Super Rugby. 
– Compiled by Sport24 staff