The Southern Kings will embrace the chance to explore new playing opportunities in view of the strategic SANZAAR decision to revamp the Vodacom Super Rugby competition, the franchise and SA Rugby announced on Friday.

The announcement was made just before a special general meeting of SA Rugby in Cape Town to formally confirm South Africa’s four participants in the competition in line with a SANZAAR decision to reduce the competition’s participants from 18 to 15 teams from next season.

The new structure will comprise four teams from South Africa, five from New Zealand, four from Australia and one each from Argentina and Japan. SA Rugby will confirm the four participants after the special general meeting.

The Southern Kings will explore multiple other international competition opportunities and an announcement on those opportunities is expected shortly.

Andre Rademan, president of the EPRU, said: “It has been a roller coaster ride for the franchise for a number of seasons but there is now a clear and viable way forward for rugby in the Eastern Cape to build on the foundations that have been laid – particularly in the past season.

“We have enjoyed Vodacom Super Rugby but the chance to test ourselves against different opposition in different conditions is a mouth-watering one. We are therefore not opposed to joining new competitions. With all stakeholders pulling in the same direction we can bring success and excitement to rugby in the Eastern Cape.”