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 ….