Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors coaches and players have been digesting the news regarding the expanded Guinness PRO14.

Celtic Rugby and the South African Rugby Union have confirmed that the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings will join an expanded tournament in time for the upcoming 2017/18 season.

The addition of the duo will require the Championship to introduce a new Conference format as a league format is not suited to a 14-team cross-border tournament.

Cockerill: “It is groundbreaking”

Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill, speaking from the club’s training camp in St Andrews, said: “It is groundbreaking, it has been mooted for a long time and now the organisers of the PRO12 have gone and done it puts a nice twist on the competition, it makes it a bit more exciting, there are a couple of weeks in South Africa for us by the looks of things and it’ll be great for the South African clubs to come over here and for the PRO14 to lead the way.

“Certainly the Cheetahs have a good history and they are a big team while the Kings play a nice brand [of rugby] and have just had their best Super Rugby season.

“It will be interesting to see how they travel and how they like the British weather while for our players it’ll be different playing in the heat of a South African summer.

It will be interesting to see how the Conference system works out and it is the first time I have coached in this system. Obviously top three is very important as is qualification for Europe so there is a lot to plan and make sure you get it right, but the PRO14 are leading the way and if it works the English Premiership and the Top 14 in France may want to get onto the same kind of system.”

Pyrgos: “It will be really exciting”

Glasgow Warriors’ scrum-half Henry Pyrgos added: “I think it will be really exciting to test ourselves against them.

“All of the boys are always up early at the weekends watching Super Rugby and they play great rugby. I have watched quite a bit of the Cheetahs this season and they like to throw the ball about and are often in high scoring games.

“It will be a challenge going over there to play, but exciting and it is a good new dimension to the competition.”

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