CAPE TOWN South African Rugby has set July 7 as the date when they decide which two of the country's teams will be dropped from Super Rugby for next season.
The number of South Africa sides will be cut from six to four as the tournament is reduced from 18 teams to 15 after criticism from broadcasters over the quality of the product in its present form.
The decision by SA Rugby will be made at a special general meeting to be hosted in Cape Town, with the Cheetahs and Southern Kings expected to be the teams axed.
Reports emerged this week that the Cheetahs' proposal to join the Pro 12 competition, containing clubs from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, has already been met with a favourable response from SA Rugby.
There have been no indications yet that the Kings are set to apply for the same competition.
SA Rugby's Franchise Committee, which is made up of representatives of the six teams that are currently competing in the 2017 Super Rugby season, will make a recommendation on which sides should be dropped to the Executive Council.
That proposal will also be discussed by the Non-Franchise Committee, which contains the CEOs of South Africa's 14 provincial unions.
The Executive Council will then table a proposal at the Special General Meeting, where it is highly likely to be ratified without debate.
Australia will lose the other team due to be cut.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien)