Currie Cup

Gerber: Watson at EP for political reasons

2016-08-03 10:00
Danie Gerber (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Eastern Province and Springbok legend Danie Gerber says he is shocked by how quickly things went pear-shaped at his former union.

The financially-stricken EP Rugby Union is set to be liquidated this week after a rescue business plan could not be initiated.

The EP Kings will likely also not play in this year’s Currie Cup Premier Division.

Gerber said earlier this week that he was disappointed in how EPRU president Cheeky Watson had handled matters at the union.

Gerber told Netwerk24 that he initially thought Watson would be successful at EP.

“I thought he had political and business connections,” said Gerber.

Gerber said he warned Watson to surround him with “rugby people” but the rugby boss did not listen to his advice.

“Hannes Marais (a former Springbok captain from EP) said this week that the only way EP could be saved is if a local company decides to sponsor the union and I agree," said Gerber.

“I don’t know why Watson was unable to get a sponsor during his tenure. Maybe some of the companies have something against him."

However Gerber, who played 24 Tests for the Springboks between 1980 and 1992, said the issues at EP was nothing new.

“There were also problems in my time," he said.

But Gerber said he was “shocked” by “how quickly things went backwards”.

“Somewhere (in the Eastern Province) there must be someone who is here for rugby and not for other reasons.”

According to Gerber, one of the first things Watson told him back when he was appointed EP president was that he was “there for political reasons”.

At domestic level, Gerber played 115 games for Eastern Province, but also had stints with Western Province (40) and Free State (24).

Meanwhile, Netwerk24 is also reporting that EP clubs will meet on Monday to discuss several issues at the union.

A motion of no confidence in Watson will be high on the meeting's agenda.

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Golden Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg 17:00
Eastern Province Kings v Pumas, Port Elizabeth 18:00
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