South African rugby officials have decided to scrap Super Rugby promotion-relegation play-offs, ensuring the bottom team in their conference this year will play in the 2015 competition.
The Lions were relegated last year but returned to this year's competition by winning a two-leg play-off against bottom team the Southern Kings.
Port Elizabeth-based Kings waived the right to a 2014 play-off after winning a 'boardroom' promotion to the Currie Cup, the oldest domestic inter-provincial rugby competition in the world.
The Kings, defending champions the Sharks, the Bulls, the Cheetahs, the Lions and Western Province are guaranteed top-flight status for the next two seasons.
Kings have been a thorn in the side of SARU for several years, given that they are based in the eastern Cape, home to most African rugby players.
The SARU want the Kings included in an enlarged Super championship when the format of five teams each from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand expires at the end of next season.