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Southern Kings make demands

2010-04-19 19:58

Johannesburg - The Southern Kings franchise, in a statement, requested that the SA Rugby Union (SARU) need to urgently confirm the Southern Kings' Super Rugby participation from 2011.

The statement rejects the proposal for Super Rugby participation from 2013 by entrenching one of the Southern Kings partners in the Currie Cup or through a series of friendly matches.

"We are not prepared to wait and will do everything in our power to ensure that Super Rugby becomes a reality in the region from no later than 2011," said Southern Kings CEO, Stephan Pretorius. The full statement reads: The Southern Kings franchise remains determined in its quest to bring Super Rugby to the Eastern and Southern Cape from 2011.

The presidents of the three provinces that comprise the Southern Kings -Cheeky Watson of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, Bantu Ondala (Acting) of the Border Rugby Union and Hennie Baartman of the South Western Districts Rugby Union - met in Port Elizabeth on Sunday April 18 to reaffirm their commitment to making Super Rugby participation a reality in the region from 2011.

The meeting discussed a number of issues that remain critical to the Southern Kings' participation in the Super 15 competition from 2011.

"The three partner unions have reiterated that the franchise is ready to participate in the Sanzar Super 15 tournament from 2011," said Southern Kings CEO, Stephan Pretorius.

"The meeting expressed concern at the apparent stalling tactics employed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) since 2005, which seek to delay the franchise's entry into Super Rugby until the 2013 season," Pretorius said.

In 2009, the SARU leadership indicated that the Southern Kings would participate in Super Rugby from 2011. As recently as January 2010, Saru changed its position, stating that the Southern Kings could play from 2012.

The latest SARU position is that the Southern Kings must be prepared for participation from 2013.

The Southern Kings leadership agreed that this was a delaying tactic by Saru in the hope that Super Rugby was expanded to 18 teams in 2013, which would allow for a sixth South African franchise.

The Southern Kings leadership finds this situation unacceptable and believes it to be detrimental to rugby, not only in the Southern Kings region, but in South Africa. This is specifically in relation to the creation of opportunities for black players and broadening the support base for the game.

When the Southern Kings submitted a bid to SANZAR in September 2009 - to be included in the expanded Super 15 tournament - the franchise proved beyond doubt, and to the satisfaction of SARU and SANZAR that it would be ready to participate from 2011.

The meeting on Sunday confirmed that nothing had changed since the submission of that bid document and that the franchise remained convinced that it would be ready by the start of the 2011 season.

The Southern Kings leadership took note of the poor performance of some of the existing South African Super Rugby franchises and was adamant that the Southern Kings deserved to be given a similar opportunity to take part in the expanded Super 15 from 2011.

The meeting expressed disappointment that the Southern Kings' readiness to compete in Super Rugby was regularly called into question, yet the poor performance of the Lions and the Cheetahs, in particular, continued to go unquestioned.

"The Southern Kings expressed concern over SARU's apparent protection of the Lions and Cheetahs franchises - which have consistently performed poorly since the onset of the Super 14 in 2006 and presently occupy the 13th and 14th places in the 2010 Super 14 standings.

The Southern Kings leadership described this situation as "unacceptable" adding that SARU needed to act decisively to rectify the situation. The Southern Kings reiterated that the time was now appropriate for the franchise to be given the opportunity to participate in Super Rugby.

The Southern Kings do not believe it is possible to effectively prepare for Super Rugby participation from 2013 by entrenching one of the Southern Kings partners in the Currie Cup or through a series of friendly matches. SARU needs to urgently confirm the Southern Kings' Super Rugby participation from 2011, which will allow the franchise to immediately activate sponsorships and, using this funding, begin contracting a squad that is of Super Rugby standard.

"We are not prepared to wait and will do everything in our power to ensure that Super Rugby becomes a reality in the region from no later than 2011," Pretorius concluded.

SAPA

Comments
  • Boerseun - 2010-04-19 21:02

    Goodbye,that's all she wrote.

  • STORMER - 2010-04-19 21:04

    I agree 100%. It is not fair nor correct that the Spears are not given a fighting chance. Seriously....The Lions have had years to improve and haven't. It is my belief that they should step aside (not the Cheetahs as they have not the time the Lions have had) Support is abysmal (stadium), and they have given no reason for anyone to believe they will be any better in the near future. Not fair. Living on a prayer are Saru & the Lions. Lions players can go to the Cheetahs (Cats back in fashion), and play in Bloem with a visit to Coca Cola Park once in the season. And hell yes I pity the Lions fans, but everyone has to start accepting that the current status quo is just not cricket.

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-04-19 21:19

    the lions and cheetahs have been an embarrassment over recent years but what is to suggest that this Kings side will do any better.....Border and EP are incredibly poor rugby unions and are at the bottom of currie sup and vodacom cup logs......ironically SWD with more white players, fair pretty well against WP......this Kings side will be racist and i can't see any big name signings going to play under CHEEKY WATSON!!!......rather do the Cats again or develop the Boland region which has the potential to be a big franchise and draw people to play in the Cape from Overseas, and maybe get a millionaire behind it so we can have our very own Toulon or Saracens???......bottom line is TRANSFORMATION SUCKS!!!!

  • andre - 2010-04-19 21:22

    From what we have seen from the 3 franchises comprising the southern kings so far this year, its in their interest to wait until 2013 to participate in super rugby. The quality of rugby all 3 teams are presently playing, and the players they have at their disposal, just dont match up to super 14 rugby at this stage. They should embark for a couple of years and play the likes of some teams in the English and French premier leagues to gain some experience

  • Brian-T - 2010-04-19 21:24

    No problem if they win a promotion / relegation match. Why can the SS not secure sponsorship to at least prove themselves at CC level. But no as in the tradition of BEE everything must simply be handed over on a platter!!! WORK FOR IT CHAPS, THERE SHOULD BE NO FREE LUNCH!!!!!

  • Sharkie - 2010-04-19 21:25

    Let them play a promotion relegation match against the SA team that ends the lowest on the Super 14 log this, will be fair.

  • Dale - 2010-04-19 21:26

    "We are not prepared to wait and will do everything in our power to ensure that Super Rugby becomes a reality in the region from no later than 2011," translated means "we will do everything possible to take the opportunity away from an area that deserves it more" ... & ... "The Southern Kings expressed concern over SARU's apparent protection of the Lions and Cheetahs franchises - which have consistently performed poorly since the onset of the Super 14 in 2006 and presently occupy the 13th and 14th places in the 2010 Super 14 standings", which of course will be totally different once a team from an area that is unable to perform in even 2nd division rugby is included in their place! Both the Lions & Cheetahs will DESTROY the Southern Kings, so I say SARU should make the the 3 of them play off for the two places ... & once they get beaten by 50 points maybe they'll SHUT UP!

  • ValsTand - 2010-04-19 21:33

    Amazingly they claim to be so good, but none of the three unions have even made the playoffs for the vodacom cup. Bulls, WP, Freestate, Lions, Boland, Leopards, Griquas and Sharks.... you know... the usual suspects....

  • jonno - 2010-04-19 21:52

    cheeky's lookin for a team to put watson jr in as captain

  • Tri - 2010-04-19 22:16

    Have the bottom two SA teams play in a triangular relegation series against the Southern Kings, the loser gets/stays relegated.

  • keith - 2010-04-19 22:26

    I have two words for the SS, and it's not, Bon Voyage. Play Promotion/Relegation as already suggested.

  • denis - 2010-04-19 22:44

    A change will be amusing at least. To level the playing fields, we must demand that SANZAR implement a similar system to that used during the interview process for State sector jobs and tender allocations - decide what is a reasonable number of points for an emerging side to obtain in a game, say 10, and then if they get that they automatically win the game regardless of how many points the other side score. Realistically though, I think the s14 needs a change - maybe each year the bottom SA team should sit out the following season. So Lions out in 2011, and back in in 2012 in place of whichever SA team finishes lowest, probably the Kings but maybe they will surprise us. The core of the Kings team might be temporarily unemployed ex-Lions players anyway, since E.P. don't seem to grow too many of their own - a bit of sea air for a season may revitalise them. Maybe they could wheel Danie Gerber out of retirement.

  • Anonomys - 2010-04-19 22:55

    Well what most people dont even know is that Border and SWD hardly have a say in this franchise. And most of the money and benefits get put back into EP rather than being spread equally. This is being run by certain individuals with their own agenda!!!! Say no more as to whom they are!!! People don`t realise the politics involved in all of this. And in the end all it does is hurt rugby and the players more.

  • StuartW - 2010-04-20 07:23

    @Tri....that is a great idea...then these guys will forever keep quite...

  • Joe - 2010-04-20 08:03

    I think a lot of you forget that this a strong base of rugby. many springboks came from area. Hannes Marais, Gavin Cowley, the Du Plessis brothers and not to mention many good black rugby players. So I think many of the comments passed here is that of lack of history of both black and white rugby and lack of foresight. the fact the Lions cant get their act together has got jack to do with rugby in the southern/eastern Cape.

  • Say What? - 2010-04-20 08:33

    You make demands but your teams are not even in the Vodacom Cup playoffs? tipical new South Africa behaviour - WE DEMAND EVEN WHEN WE DONT CONTRIBUTE...

  • Staalburgher - 2010-04-20 10:01

    We demand our rights! That said the Cheetahs and Lions have done themselves no favours. The question is, will the Kings do any better? From what people are saying it seems they are not performing enough at lower tiers. At least with the current two franchises you know it is management.

  • Richard - 2010-04-20 10:18

    What a Joke their teams in the Vodacom Cup are as follows 6,7 and 8th position with a total of 4 win in 21 games,yet they demand to be in the super 14 next year, how about a relegation playoff against both the Cheetahs and the Lions and see how they perform

  • The Godfather - 2010-04-20 12:09

    Bla bla bla... The Kings with the same old self-inspiring motivational speech and SARU with the same old excuses... YAWN' Get a clue already.

  • PIET - 2010-04-20 13:51

    First one of the 3 teams (at least)must be in the Currie Cup Premier Division. How? By winning the First Division and then winning the play-offs against the side finishing last in Premier division. Not any chance of that happening currently.Who do they think will move to their region ? Players must be paid well ,and with big question marks hanging over the financial position of those provinces ,I can not see any player of calibre moving there . Possible players nearing retirement or coming out of retirement. The current core of players will have no winning influence on the region. So,bottom line: Be realistic , First try to draw players down there(not realistic at all) What about a game against either Lions or Freestate (Super 14).Whatch scoreboard for record total.

  • Jo - 2010-04-20 14:28

    its sad to see such blatant politics in rugby !!!

  • Gatiep - 2010-05-27 14:55

    I live and work in PE, and though I would love to see a team based in PE take part in the Super Rugby Series, the truth is that until the Elephants start performing, no one will take the regions seriously. 1.) Draw up a 5 year plan, use it to get 1 or 2 major sponsors from the region involved and to make some money available. 2.) Rebrand the 'Mighty' Elephants as the Southern Spears, and make their base the new PE stadium. They can't play half their home games in PE, and the other half in East London. 3.) Use the sponsors' money, and get some decent talent, and a decent coach. Hell, get Heyneke Meyer or Jake White to come in for a year or two. 4.) Establish a Rugby School for feeding talented youngsters through the ranks. 5.) Use the newly acquired talent to win the second division, and gain promotion to the Premier Division in the Curry cup. 6.) Put up a fair performance in the Premier Division. THEN, and only THEN, the Spears can say that the franchise is in a position to play in the Super Rugby Tournament. But right now, the Elephants will not beat the Lions or the Cheetahs, should they face-off. Going forward, SARU should put a rule in place that only the top 5 placed teams in the Curry Cup Premier Division, will be allowed to participate in the following year's Super 15 tournament.

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