So Rapport, never shy to publish the spicy stuff that seems to so regularly plague the game of rugby in our land, and seemingly also not shy to get a little creative when reading between the lines, published a story on Sunday saying that the SA Super Rugby franchises had threatened to boycott the tournament in 2013 should the Kings inclusion result in a compromise of ANY sort for any of them …
SARU hit back with the following statement:
South Africa’s five Vodacom Super Rugby franchises have not threatened to boycott the competition. A newspaper report alleged that the boycott threat was a part of a letter from the five franchises to SARU president, Mr Oregan Hoskins.
“No threat of a boycott was made,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU. “But the franchises have made it plain that the only option to them is the expansion of Vodacom Super Rugby.
“They also pledged their support for the Kings’ inclusion in 2013 as well as for SARU’s efforts to persuade SANZAR to include a sixth South African franchise.”
The letter reads:
“After lengthy discussions between the Franchises, we unanimously decided that it is imperative:
- That such inclusion will benefit South African rugby in general;
- That none of the existing franchises shall be prejudiced by such inclusion in any way whatsoever;
- That none of the existing franchises shall be eliminated from the tournament in 2013 or at any stage thereafter as a result of the inclusion of the Kings;
- That SARU as custodian of the South African leg of the tournament will ensure that the Kings are included without prejudice to any of the existing franchises.
“The existing franchises will endeavour to provide all necessary assistance and support to SARU in its negotiations with SANZAR to ensure the inclusion of six South African franchises in 2013 onwards.”
Roux said that SARU would continue discussions with its SANZAR partners around participation in the 2013 tournament.
A decision on the mechanism by which South Africa’s entrants in Vodacom Super Rugby in 2013 would be identified was postponed in January. A special General Council meeting delayed the decision until the Annual General Meeting of SARU on March 31 to allow time for further discussions with SANZAR.
So while the franchises might not have actually used the word “Boycott” in their letter to SARU, the Big 5 have certainly decided that strength will be gained from being unified on this, and they will not be forced into any sort of amalgamation or being dumped from the tournament. And will act if SARU try to pull one of these moves … Presumably not via another amiable letter …
And with the TV rights sold for a 15 team tournament until 2015, SARU are going to struggle to argue for a 6th team to be added to the SA conference before then …
This is a terribly untidy situation and SARU are going to be spending a lot of time trying to solve this …. Instead of focusing on building winning teams … How and why do we continually get ourselves into these situations?