Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Kings fiasco gets worse!

Sport24, via Die Burger, are reporting that Jurie Roux has scheduled a meeting for August 16 where the presidents of South Africa’s 14 provincial unions will vote on the fate of the Southern Kings …

The presidents will apparently be given the following options to choose from:

- The Kings gain Super Rugby promotion at the expense of the Lions;

- The Kings gain promotion, work together with the Lions, with the Lions’ top players then playing their Super Rugby in Port Elizabeth in 2013;

- The Lions and Cheetahs merge to again become a franchise (they played together as the Cats from 1998-2005);

- Rugby bosses decide they’ve made a mistake and the Kings won’t be allowed to play Super Rugby next year.

This after the Weekend Argus reported that the Kings had accepted 40 million rand offer from SARU to postpone their inclusion in Super Rugby.

The Kings were quick to deny this report saying on Twitter “The story going around we’ve taken money to stay out of Super Rugby in 2013 is NOT TRUE ! We will be playing Super Rugby in 2013.”

SARU have been stalling on this decision in the hope that SANZAR would allow them a 6th team in the tournament this year, but to their credit, they made it clear that the competition will stay at 15 teams for at least the next few years which resulted in the current issue involving the Kings.

What a bloody farce!

And still it remains about what we do next year, with nothing on how it will be handled year on year … Promotion / Relegation? How many years for the Kings or Lions? Future planning seemingly is not big on SARU’s agenda.

Instead, they are pinning their hopes on getting a 6th team in 2016 … Which means they go into the SANZAR negotiations with a clear agenda (get a 6th team at all costs) rather than with a want to do what is best for rugby and the players!

As pointed out to me by Andy Wood – SuperBru’s General, and an astute rugby analyst – yesterday …. Most people actually wouldn’t have too much trouble with the whole Kings thing it if it were explicitly a development side focused on bringing through local Eastern Cape – primarily black – talent… at least that had merit in the greater scheme of things and context of the country… But if they are to buy in talent from elsewhere, then why should they get special treatment? If that’s what they want to do, they need to play Currie Cup and be promoted to Super Rugby via the promotion/relegation system that saw the Cheetahs ouster WP’s place in Super Rugby in 1997.

The other parallel pointed out by Wood, is that of Bob Skinstad and his team’s attempt to create an ex-pat South African team playing in the English Premiership – a “London South Africans” type outfit. But they had to play by the rules, and the only way to do it was to buy a 3rd division club and advance it up through 3 seasons of play to the top level… and that’s where it stopped.

So to my mind, SARU need to make a call – something they should obviously have done bloody years ago … Are the Kings an entity based on improving a region traditionally blessed with black rugby talent, and thus governed by a different set of rules … Or are they a normal rugby entity that needs to qualify as per the same rules every other union would need to adhere to?

To me, it’s obvious that it should be the former. The Lions and Cheetahs have not come close to bothering to top of the Super Rugby leaderboard … Rather use one of the five sides to do something different, and perhaps country galvanizing and inspirational ….

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Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

14 Comments

  1. Tank, this whole thing is of their own making. The Kings should earn the right to play not just ve given it. No matter what the reasoning.

  2. Kings not even capable of winning B division Currie Cup??? Be realistic SARU

  3. Respect is earned and not granted nor super rugby status! Nothing has come from the King to show that they had earn anything (or developed) so far it has been a thing of let’s get the old guys here for a last pension fund!! None of there 3 unions has come close to do any improvement of there rugby or take on 1 of the big unions! All of the 5 super teams has send a weaken side and still won them!

  4. This whole situation is spinning more out of control.I think they should let the Kings earn the right to play Super rugby because 15 teams as it stands is already too much rugby even for a country blessed with numbers.I would take quality over quantity any day!!

  5. This still need not be a fiasco.
    A year ago SARU’s Chairman of the Competition Committee – James Stoffberg – was approached with an “option” to defuse the time bomb in South African Rugby. Jurie Roux also reviewed this at the RWC in NZ.
    It is posted here: http://www.sportsleader.co.za/tonymckeever/2012/02/13/sarus-super-rugby-riddle-solved/
    The issue is that another international commercial powerhouse rugby union – USA – want to engage in this option, plus it offers SANZAR an opportunity to “trial” and “prepare” 3 new incoming franchises for the 2016-2020 Super 18 which will comprise of 3 regional pools/conferences of 6 teams each – which as everyone here knows thanks to Tank and his TV stats – the local derbies pack the stands and stadiums.
    So it is a no brainer to entertain this prequel to the 2016-2020 Super18 and implement an international televised tournament for 2013-2015.
    Hell SANZAR could even make a financial contribution of US$5m pa towards this from the US$20m NZ & Australia picked up when SA gave up 5% of TV revenues (US$20m), as well as the 15th franchise in 2009 to their “partners” at SANZAR.
    Now here is a kick in the pants style option to propel SA rugby to the place it needs to be, without any financial casualties.

  6. Hey Tank!
    Nice piece.
    My opinion: Just like the flippin UEFA Champions League, the top FIVE Currie Cup teams gets promoted to the Super Rugby. Merit beats favours. But this whole thing has become such a mockery! I don’t give a rat’s ass about race here (Im coloured for those wondering). Rugby used to be such a well managed sport – where did it go wrong? It has become such a “i’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” scenario. Hoskins needs to resign and a person with integrity should be put in charge. Oh wait…that kind of person doesn’t exist in SA Rugby. Ai…RIP to SA Rugby then coz we will stay losing with shit like that at the helms.

    And the Kings are really looking forward to a 200-0 hiding in the Super Rugby. Why don’t the first rebuild their team and prove to us that they deserve a spot. Right now, Im sure Maties can beat them.

  7. This whole fiasco has more to do with politics than sport!!

  8. This whole fiasco is due to the inability of the honorable president of SARU to take or make decisions. His only interest in life is to being Mr. Nice Guy and get re-elected again the following year.

    My idea is to bring in a challenge system where the winner of the Currie Cup MAY challenge the bottom finisher in our conference for the right to progress to the Super series.

    Fair system????????????? I would think so, what do you say Mr. Tank?

  9. Development is one thing,buying players another and then rules for entry into any level or league at the top is absolutely necessary.decisions have to Be made,one cannot be a draadsitter all the time.So fair decisions decisions decisions please!And not at the expense of the quality of growing the sport and good Rugby anywhere even when one sometimes looses.!!!

  10. I would not like to see ‘Barbarian’-type teams crossing over regions if the sport needs to be developed all at the expense of the Lions.This should be left to weaker unions or for that matter any union negotiating ties if they should so wish such amalgamation for the purposes of a particular competion.that’s All for now!

  11. I agree with the idea that they need to earn there spot in S15 – However, on the plus side – We (The 4 other SA sides) will have a degree of relief in the 2 “easier” fixtures against the Kings. Making the tournament a little easier and less bruising…!

  12. I don’t think the SANZAR competition allows for an obvious weakened team (Development team) to be part of the competition. That the reason for franchises.
    The best option in the interest of rugby will be to stick with the current status quo with the Kings to press for and qualify for inclusion into this competition on merit.
    On a lighter note – Merge the Lions and the Kings – call them the Lion Kings. Similar to the Blue Bull song by Steve Hofmeyer the Lion Kings will also have their own song; they can play the theme song of the Lion King movie.

  13. The Kings need to be able to a: Compete and b: beat on a regular basis the top 4-5 team in the Currie Cup before even being considered to join Super Rugby. Being a Kiwi I can see the NZ teams rubbing their hands together at the prospect of an ‘easy’ game here in the republic.