SARU have indeed established an investigation into the Kings suspected breach of their Super Rugby participation agreement, but president Cheeky Watson is bitter.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, contacted Cheeky Watson, the chairman of the Kings board, on Tuesday to advise him of the inquiry into their use of foreign players against the Chiefs, and also to caution him against any potential breaches.
The matter was discussed by an emergency teleconference of the Executive Council (Exco) of SARU on Tuesday. The Exco, in accordance with the SARU Disciplinary and Judicial Regulations, decided to appoint a judicial sub-committee to investigate the allegation.
In the event of a breach being proved there is a wide range of sanctions available, starting from a caution to a maximum fine of R1m or a recommendation to the General Council to suspend or expel the offending organisation.
In reply, via a statement, Watson said the Kings thought they were allowed to field their two Argentine players as SARU did not regard them as foreigners.
“In the process leading up to the signing of foreign players last year, we were led to believe and even encouraged to sign Argentinian players – who currently participate in the Vodacom Cup as (the) Pampas – with the understanding that they would not be considered as foreign players, in the same way as Daniel Adongo, who is from Kenya, is not considered a foreign player,” said Watson.
“That being said, the sanctions which are being considered against the Southern Kings, as per the statement issued by SARU, have been clearly conveyed to me.”
Watson also used the opportunity to reinforce his feeling that the Kings have been disadvantaged.
“I am on record as having clearly stated that our treatment and entrance into Super Rugby, and the entire process to date, has disadvantaged us tremendously.”
The Grunt awaits comment from SARU with regard to Watson’s comment on them being encouraged to sign Argentinian players.