SA Rugby need to answer...
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
I’ve heard it all, the ship has sailed... no use crying over spilt milk... move on... but I can’t move on until SA Rugby have given Lions fans some answers as to why they won’t be playing Super Rugby next season.
The crux of the matter is not how bad the Lions record is in Super Rugby but how bad the whole situation has been handled and it would seem that SARU is doing everything in its power to destroy a union that could win back-to-back Currie Cups.
Now you have a situation with a number of Lions players going on loan to other SA teams for Super Rugby next season.
Could there be a bigger farce or a bigger mockery of the game?
You can’t blame the players as they need to play top level rugby to keep in the Bok picture and to earn a living.
But what happens next season when the Lions have to prepare for a playoff and half their top players have been with other SA teams?
Of course, the Lions will be at a distinct disadvantage in a playoff against a team that has been together the whole season.
So, if anything, there should be NO playoff and rather an automatic promotion/relegation, just like this season.
But that will never happen as SARU look to protect their “political” Kings and it wouldn’t surprise if next year, they move the goalposts again if the Kings are in the relegation playoff spot.
How can SA Rugby officials just sit back and take no accountability for what is an aberration.
SARU maintained the Kings inclusion would not be at the expense of another SA side - then suddenly at the last minute, there’s a “shady” vote.
The big unions also had a gentlemen’s agreement that they would stick together (if one went out, all would go). So, I would love to know what happened behind the scenes for Western Province and Free State to vote the Lions out and of course their feeder unions voted the same way. The Blue Bulls and Sharks administration should be commended for standing up to SARU and it’s no wonder these two rugby unions have been SA’s most successful over the years.
When making the announcement that the Kings were in the and Lions were out, SARU president, Oregan Hoskins said, “promotion/relegation is a worldwide phenomenon for under achieving teams”.
Perhaps Mr Hoskins can explain how the Kings got to the No 1 position for promotion? Did they even win the B-section of the Currie Cup last season or was that perhaps Boland?
If only SARU had the balls to “do the dirty” six months ago, there may still have been an opportunity for the Lions to find another competition to play in, perhaps be pioneers in Europe for an SA side but more importantly, keep their players and keep their fans happy.
Now, it’s rent a player and soon to be rent a fan!
I also thought the idea of the Kings was to promote rugby in the Eastern Cape and give home-grown talent the opportunity to play top class rugby.
But I guess when you’re paying Luke Watson R3 million per annum, there’s not much left for development. So, the Kings will look to foreign players and as coach Matt Sexton says, “they expect to be allowed to use six foreign players in next year's Super Rugby competition”.
Who is funding this?
Is SARU still a shareholder in the Kings?
I don’t begrudge Luke but what I do find pathetic is how “journalist”, Mark Keohane (an unaccredited SARU agent) represents Luke Watson and has no scruples when pushing the Kings agenda in the media.
Is this ethical SA Rugby?
Do you not have to be an accredited SARU agent to represent SA rugby players?
Or are you going to turn another blind eye?
Too many of our sports administrators are not accountable for poor administration and bad decisions.
All of this is just another shining example.
Boy, how we love the mix of sport and politics.
Email Graeme at: firstname.lastname@example.orgCatch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 169 and streaming worldwide on www.1485.org.za. Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboyDisclaimer:
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