As South African teams prepare to join the Pro 12, Keith Wood felt that prospect is "crazy"

Cheetahs and Southern Kings are set to join the Pro 12 from September

As South African teams prepare to join the Pro 12, Keith Wood felt that prospect is "crazy"

Keith Wood of the Lions. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

It had been speculated for some time but the Guinness Pro 12 will be no more and will henceforth become a Pro 14 with the addition of two South African franchises from September, according to the BBC.

That means Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster will face South African sides Cheetahs and Southern Kings domestically in future seasons.

The new format is likely to be officially announced next week and will see the 14 teams split into two conferences of seven teams with each conference set to have two Irish teams, two Welsh, one Scottish, one Italian and one South African side.

Speaking last week at the end of the Lions tour to New Zealand, former Ireland captain Keith Wood told Off The Ball that he could not see the sense of Lions eligible nations being part of a league featuring Italian sides, let alone South African additions.

He said: "The idea of having Italian teams in a Celtic League stills strikes me as being kind of crazy. And the potential of having two South African teams even more crazy." 

Keith's solution was a Lions League of a sort that would see Irish, Scottish and Welsh clubs forming a domestic competition with their English counterparts.  

"Well, there is a world calendar in conversation for the moment," he said.

"For me, there always has been a - I can't say it's a perfect route but a good route is I still believe in having a league system based with Britain and Ireland."

"So the idea of trying to amalgamate and come to some agreement where you could have England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales playing almost as in a Lions League and then you fit in a Lions tour at the end of the every four years that can be factored in properly. I mean, there's an awful lot of work that would have to be done to make that happen but that doesn't mean that would be the wrong thing to happen.

"Because the Pro 12 does well but not anywhere near as well as it needs to and there's a lot of money in the UK. So there would be a different divvy up of the spend. But that seems like the most comfortable fit for this to fit into the Northern Hemisphere calendar. We know that if it does fit into the Northern Hemisphere, it can fit into the Southern Hemisphere."