Stonehouse vents at SARU
Cape Town - In the wake of the Pumas 43-18 loss to Western Province at Newlands, Pumas’ coach, Jimmy Stonehouse has blasted SARU for it’s decision to trim the Currie Cup to six teams.
After their encounter with their more illustrious opponents, Stonehouse hit out at match officials for their alleged treatment of certain players and incidents.
“The scored does not reflect the real story. How can we dominate the scrums (which was actually the case) and at the same time be penalised 13 times in the scrum.
“And why was Schalk Burger not penalised for tackling one of my players without using his arms?
“There were an awful amount of those sort of decisions made by the referee (Pro Legoete) which went against us. You know, you do everything in your powers to play good, honest rugby.
“But it is as if dubious decisions always go against the smaller unions. It makes a person fed up,” Stonehouse told Monday’s Die Burger.
Stonehouse went onto say that the way smaller unions are treated does not start or stop at the way their matches are officiated. He cites that prospective six-team Currie Cup next season is a decision which could stunt the growth and strength of rugby in South Africa, despite the Pumas rugby union board favouring the SARU initiative.
“It is killing rugby, man. We qualify for the Premier division after working enormously hard and then after the raising of a few hands, we are told to go back to the First division.
“Sponsors approach you if you are in the Premier division. If we must be demoted - not through our own doing – we will lose those sponsors. I will have to let go of 13 of my 43 players.
“Then I haven’t even taken the other big ‘wolf’ into account: the bigger unions who buy our players
“How is that progressive for the sport of rugby as a whole?”
The Eastern Province Kings lost to the Boland Cavaliers in the final of the Currie Cup First division, a title the Pumas won in 2009, gaining promotion to the Premier division, where they have played since.
Stonehouse then proceeded to vent his frustrations at the probability of the Eastern Province, who are still in the First division, having a franchise in Super Rugby.
“How can you be groomed for Super Rugby if you can’t even win your own division?”
Stonehouse however, will not hold his breath for SARU to have a change of heart and allow the Pumas to stay in the Premier division.
“I believe that there is another meeting in November when the decision to have a six-team league will be discussed, but by that time you would have had to have played your playoff matches already and if we have to move down and lose our sponsors, it will certainly be SA Rugby’s responsibility to stand by us smaller unions financially.”