SARU still lobbying SANZAR

2012-02-27 07:17
Sydney - Australia and New Zealand have discovered that where SANZAR is concerned, South Africa are ever persistent, endlessly pushing their cause on and off the field.

Where rugby politics are concerned, South Africa never give in, as shown by their relentless pursuit of the Super Rugby tournament being expanded to a 16-team competition to avert the threat of relegation among their home provinces through the introduction of the Southern Kings next season.

Although their SANZAR partners keep telling them they have no hope of winning their argument, due to the current broadcasting agreement that stipulates a 15-team competition, South African officials keep gnawing away. Their latest ploy is for officials from several provinces, including the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Kings, to accompany South African Rugby Union delegates to Australia and New Zealand next month to lobby for another team.

South Africa believe that strength in numbers could ultimately force a rethink from Australia and New Zealand, but it remains highly unlikely.

On the field, the usual South African football powers have begun their Super Rugby campaign in an aggressive fashion, with the Stormers overhauling the Hurricanes 39-26 in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Stormers were immediately in stride, going to a 23-9 lead after 35 minutes, taking advantage of their New Zealand visitors being down to 13 men after props Tristan Moran and Ben May both received yellow cards. They were also able to overcome the early departure of their Springbok breakaway Schalk Burger, who twisted his knee in a tackle in the 14th minute, forcing him to leave the field on a stretcher. He is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks.

The Stormers were also able to rally after the Hurricanes drew level early in the second half. They were helped by the Hurricanes losing their composure late in the game, while referee Marius Jonker sent a third visiting prop, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, to the sin bin for collapsing a Stormers driving maul that led to a penalty try.

The Bulls, who have lost many of their experienced players, showed they could rebound when they overwhelmed the Sharks 18-13 in Pretoria, while Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies booted a record nine penalty goals in their 27-25 win over the Cheetahs in Johannesburg.

Jantjies was successful with nine of his 11 attempts at goal, beating the previous Super Rugby record of eight penalties by Jannie Kruger (Bulls), Willie Walker (Highlanders), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs) and Derick Hougaard (Bulls).

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have lost four players for extensive periods following their loss to the Highlanders in Hamilton. Prop Ben Afeaki broke his right forearm and will be out for at least three months. Brendon Leonard is sidelined for 10 weeks with a hamstring injury and prop Toby Smith for six weeks with a calf strain, while winger Lelia Masaga will miss at least the next three rounds with a knee complaint.

Read more on:    sanzar  |  saru

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