South Africa's "Big Four" rugby franchises have been dumped out of this month's Rainbow Cup, according to a newspaper report, exerting a huge blow to SA Rugby.
The Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions were meant to participate in a rejigged PRO14 tournament with 12 European sides from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy starting on 24 April.
But, as according to Sunday weekly newspaper , SA Rugby informed the four franchises last Friday their participation in the Rainbow Cup had been pulled.
Rainbow Cup stakeholders allegedly decided in a virtual meeting that South African teams could no longer participate because of "the forces outside rugby".
South Africa's axing would deal a huge financial blow to SA Rugby, who will lose out on potential television rights revenue as a result.
also wrote that SA Rugby is working towards hosting a domestic Franchise Cup after the failed entry into the Northern Hemisphere competition.