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The IRFU are "very supportive" of South African clubs joining an expanded PRO16 competition according to their performance director David Nucifora. 

The Bulls, Stormers, Lions, and Sharks are in "advanced talks" about becoming part of the competition from 2021 onward after opting not to continue in Super Rugby.

Nucifora feels those four South African clubs would boost the standard of PRO rugby, which he thinks would benefit the Irish provinces.

“We think that Irish rugby needs to be ambitious, we think that the PRO14 needs to be ambitious, and we think that by having those four strong South African teams entering our competitions, it will help develop the game in the PRO14.

"It will help develop Irish rugby, it will help develop Irish players by stretching us and by challenging our teams and also our players. I think that’s what high-performing athletes want, they want to be challenged.

“Talks are ongoing and they are at quite an advanced stage. There are obviously some time constraints about making those types of decisions because to organise a significant change in competition structure involves a lot of things to happen.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment to try and see the possibility of that happening in the New Year.”

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