The addition of the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings to the Pro14 is as significant a moment for the sport as the launch of Super Rugby, according South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux.
The Cheetahs and the Kings will join teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in next season's revamped competition after losing out in a decision to trim Super Rugby from 18 to 15 teams.
But Roux is optimistic about the success of the changes, which he believes are comparable to when the southern hemisphere competition was launched as the Super 12 in 1996.
"This is a momentous day for rugby – as significant as the launch of the Super 12 tournament, 21 years ago," said Roux.
"We are breaking new ground with a number of global firsts; this is the first cross-hemisphere domestic club competition; the first time we will have played summer rugby in South Africa and the first experiment in aligning a season in the south with that of the north.
"Our eyes are on the bigger picture, which is new horizons and new opportunities for South African rugby and our Pro14 partners.
"I'd like to thank [Pro14 CEO] Martin Anayi and the board of Pro14 Rugby as well as the national unions of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy for opening the door at short notice and welcoming us through it.
"We look forward to this adventure and building something special."