News24

E. Cape angry at SARU snub

2010-05-27 13:16

Cape Town - Players and fans in the black rugby stronghold of South Africa's Eastern Cape say officials have broken promises to get their local side into Super Rugby.

As the Pretoria-based Bulls and Cape Town's Stormers prepare for Saturday's Super 14 final, supporters of the fledgling Southern Kings franchise complain that they feel frustrated and disappointed.

"All we have is promises, promises, and it's time for a stand," said Thando Manana, a former Springbok loose forward who quit rugby in 2005 to start a driving school in the New Brighton township outside Port Elizabeth, where the Kings are based.

"There are high expectations and we are waiting for Super rugby as promised by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) president and the government."

Head coach Alan Solomons said the uncertain future for the franchise made it difficult to recruit players.

"There are players who will come tomorrow but not without there being Super rugby," he said. "There has been a clear commitment by SARU to the franchise but we need to move ahead with this process. The delays are killing us."

The Kings, launched nearly a year ago, enjoy strong political backing from the ANC government but lost out last November to the Melbourne Rebels in a bid for the 15th slot in an expanded version of the southern hemisphere competition from 2011.

The Rebels will be the fifth Australian team in the competition. New Zealand and South Africa already have five teams apiece.

The Eastern Cape is the birthplace of former president Nelson Mandela and has more clubs - 500 - than the rest of the country combined.

The majority of its 20 000 registered players, most of them black, live in the many townships bordering the harbour cities of East London and Port Elizabeth.

"Millions have been pumped into transformation but it's like the housing problem in this country," said Manana. "A few houses have been built, but the people are still crying, and wondering where their water, electricity and roof are."

Manana's views echo those of local players and supporters who say amalgamating the struggling Lions and Cheetahs teams - based in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein respectively - would allow the Kings to play.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins said such a demand was based on "emotion" and was unworkable.

"It would take a miracle for (the Kings) to match the Lions if they played them tomorrow," said Hoskins.

"The Lions have been pathetic but if the Kings look in the mirror they would understand there's a massive gulf between the Super 14 and domestic Currie Cup rugby. For them to say they could beat the Lions is being absolutely disingenuous."

The Lions lost all 13 pool matches this year - the worst losing streak in the competition's history - but Hoskins said the Kings would have to wait until the 2013 season, when the tournament is set to expand to 18 teams, to be accommodated.

"I don't believe it's in anybody's best interests that the Kings play in the Super 15 in 2011," said Hoskins, who added that scrapping the Lions franchise would cause "all sorts of division and turmoil".

Coach Solomons said the delay was "prejudicial to the franchise".

"It's difficult to contract players or do anything until we know what is going on," said former Ulster coach Solomons, who prepared the Kings for their only match to date - a 20-8 defeat by the British & Irish Lions in Port Elizabeth in June last year when they fielded an invitational side.

"When we played the British Lions we attracted 35 000 people. Had they given us a franchise right after the game, we would have been good to go from 2011.

"We've got a brand-new FIFA World Cup stadium and great schools that produce great players, but those players have no aspirational pathway," Solomons said.

"It's just not fair, it's crazy and it just doesn't make sense if we do want to make rugby a game that is fully representative of our country.

"The Eastern Cape is the cradle of black rugby in South Africa and, without Super rugby, these players can't give back to their communities."

Reuters

Comments
  • isakd - 2010-05-27 13:32

    force the powers in charge to action by buying players and rent them to the pumped up big unions and make some money that way. I do not believe when they say SA rugby is for all and I am a whitey.

  • rugga fan - 2010-05-27 13:46

    so let them play against the cheetahs and lions and maybe then after a proper belting, they would stop moaning about it..... please let them play i for one would like the lions see win one game ha ha ha h aha

  • rugga fan - 2010-05-27 13:47

    so let them play against the cheetahs and lions and maybe then after a proper belting, they would stop moaning about it..... please let them play i for one would like the lions see win one game ha ha ha h aha

  • The Voice of Reason - 2010-05-27 13:47

    So SARU, can you ensure that the Southern Kings get a spot in the Super 18 in 2013? The Kings and 2 Argentine teams would be great, but we need to be careful that Aus don't try to sneak another team in. They may try Adelaide, the Central Coast or western Sydney.

  • Chris - 2010-05-27 13:57

    Once again,the Kings/Spears ask for a handout. Put the unions who are to form the Kiings together and let them start competing in the Currie Cup B Division and give them a chance to work their way up through the current structures. Hoskins is right though, the Lions, k@k as they are would hammer the Spears.

  • jody - 2010-05-27 14:03

    kings are a joke with solomons a bigger joke. will he bring skinstad out of retirement and stab another player in the back as he did with teichman in 99. lu.......puke watson be ring leader. kevin will turn lions around soon.

  • Danman - 2010-05-27 14:03

    Lions could use a merger with the cheetahs, but that's a separate issue... why not play a lions vs kings series as a motivator. both sides'll have the world to play for, would be a coupla games worth watching - be a morale boost / teambuilding for the lions and a rare opportunity for the kings to gain some exposure!... i should be a wrestling commentator

  • GPB - 2010-05-27 14:04

    Next they would want to be handed the Super 14 trophy because its their right.............HA HA H A HA

  • Neels - 2010-05-27 14:05

    Why not let them play the Lions in a qualification match? That way whoever loses can only blame themselves and we don't need to listen to the unfounded claims by either side. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the two lowest ranking sides and one or two challenger sides should play a mini tournament every year to see who gets to play Super Rugby the next year

  • Mandy - 2010-05-27 14:10

    "The Kings, launched nearly a year ago, enjoy strong political backing from the ANC government" - great, just what we need, more politics in our rugby. Can you people not speaka da english?? Let me type slowely so that you can catch up......WE STAY OUT OF YOUR POLITICS, YOU STAY OUT OF OUR RUGBY. Capisce, comprende, understand, verstaan, entender, capire, begrijpen, verstehen????? We already have five franchises, two of which have been weakened by the stronger provinces due to poaching, what do you think your franchise is going to add?

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-05-27 14:14

    well.....bottom line is they don't deserve a spot in the super 15! all the Franchises in that area are REALLY BAD! they aren't in the CC first divison and failed miserably in the Vodacom cup!

  • pe guy - 2010-05-27 14:22

    Why dont they try and improve the mighty elephants, get them out of 2nd div currie cup and maybe even win it. I think then SARU will listen to you. Until then its pointless. Plus 20 000 rugby players doesn't mean you deserve to be in Super rugby now.

  • bushwaker - 2010-05-27 14:30

    if the rugby is so strong in the eastern cape why are they not winning the currie cup then? they can complain but they cannot even win the vodacom cup and they play in the b legue of the currie cup but still they do not win because they so bad. they have so many clubs but they cannot get a winning team together first start small then go bigger

  • james - 2010-05-27 14:35

    Its a tough one. The Lions dont deserve a S14 spot, but O.H. is right, the Kings would get hammered by them tomorrow. We need to provide these youngsters with an opportunity, but does having a S14 side in a huge province provide such an opportunity? I am not sure. Loosing the Lions would also be a disaster for SA rugby.

  • pamata - 2010-05-27 14:51

    Who the hell is Thando Manana? Never heard of him. If he was a springbok loose forward, then my granny was the springbok Hooker!!!!

  • SJ - 2010-05-27 14:53

    Whether the Kings are ready or not is debatable, but it wasn't long ago that SARU was fighting for the 15th Super rugby spot for them... a bit hypocritical for Hoskins to now say that it isn't "in anybody's best interests" that they play in 2011.

  • Danny - 2010-05-27 14:56

    They were promised a place a few years ago, so therefore they should be given a place. They can't do any worse than the Lions. Why not amalgamate them and the Lions, that way they will at least have a few players that have Super 14 experience. Also if they get a franchise they would be able to get a few younger players who are on the brink of super14 selection. Don't shout them down. A promise is a promise. Danny from Joburg.

  • Boesman - 2010-05-27 15:00

    Solomons just a word to the wise: You don't start building a house from the roof downward, but from the foundations upwards.

  • Delacruise - 2010-05-27 15:05

    I say give them a chance, in the Vodacom Cup and the Curry Cup. If they are worthy of super rugby status, then let them prove it. If they perform well enough then they cant be denied a place in the in the super rugby arena. But wait... they are playing in the Vodacom Cup and they cant compete with other franchises that have a much smaller player selection to pick from. I think this is a racial issue. The SS(Southern Spears) think because the majority of their players are BLACK they MUST be included. If the management of SS really care about rugby in the Eastern Cape or SA Rugby for that matter then they would start building from the bottom up not the other way around. We dont need another SA team at the bottom of the log.

  • AV - 2010-05-27 15:11

    I am from PE living in Pretoria now and played Pro rugby (with Tando) in EC and Gauteng. If the Kings are given a spot in the S15 in place of who ever they can start to recruit players and also keep some. The problem is many of the Eastern cape players stars are shining in other S14, overseas, Bok 7's or Vodacom sides. Dewald Potgieter, Fabian Julies, Luke Watson, Heindrich Stride, Justin Peach, Chris Jonck, Mzwandile Stick, Nokwe, Wayne van Heerden JP Joubert, Killian and many more> Yes EP cannot take their current team and start playing in the S15 but that is not what they are saying. They cannot recruit if they dont know if they are in the S15. Why must the EC players go and shine for other sides? Because there is no S15 side in EC.

  • steve - 2010-05-27 15:35

    Common, the kings franchises consistently lie at the bottom of the B division - do they really believe they have any sort of chance in super rugby. Try smoking something - poor sods. The Bulls, Crusaders, Stormers, Waratahs, Brumbies, Sharks and Reds will easily put 100 unanswered points behind them in 80 minutes. The players know in their own hearts it's not nice losing all the time and they won't get spectators (who by the way contribute towards expenses).

  • Sean - 2010-05-27 15:39

    Why don`t you give them a chance ? Where must the money come from ? How much money will be stolen ? We live in Pro. era , sorry to say , but the smaller unions will always come 2nd ! That`s just how it is OR do you want S.A Rugby to go backwards like the rest of the country ??

  • Richard - 2010-05-27 15:47

    Their 3 teams cant even make it to the finals of the Vodacom cup,they came 6 7 and 8th in the southern pool.Let them play as the Spears and see if they are able to `cut` it in the Vodacom cup first then the Curry Cup then have a play off against the lowest S A side in the Super 15.What they want is the same as taking a team in the 3rd division and expecting them to perform.

  • Morne - 2010-05-27 15:54

    For the Southern Kings to play Super Rugby,they need to show South Africa that they can play rugby,by first qualifying to play in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup,not the Second Division. All the other franchises has done so,Lions,Cheetahs,Stormers,Bulls,they've worked hard to play Super Rugby,Southern Kings just sitting back expecting to just play Super Rugby is a joke. Come on Kings,work on learning to play rugby,then you can talk.

  • Am I missing something..... - 2010-05-27 16:03

    The Lions performance in this years Super 14 was an indication of what the real trend (problem) in SA rugby is. After a fair performance in the CC last year, they have lost a lot of key performers to other provinces. This have been a trend for the last couple of years. If you have a drain of players, sorry, you are not going to perform. Any franchise (Southern Spears included) will be able to compete if they buy enough quality players. It is like any other business, if you have the right staff, you will see it in your bottom line. For me, SARU should implement a player rating system based on performance, and that franchises are limited to the number of the players they can acquire from different ratings each year. This will stop the drain out of certain franchises and it will force the franchises to invest in their own development programs??? The CC should remain the pre-qualifying tournament for the following years Super tournament. This might stem the flow of quality players lost each year to the northern hemisphere and elsewhere....

  • Stormy Boy - 2010-05-27 16:09

    Join the useless Lions and useless Cheetahs again to reunite the useless Cats, and give the freed up spot to the Kings. Problem solved. However, we'll still sit with 2 useless SA teams in Super Rugby, with Stormers, Sharks and Bulls continuing to fly the SA flag high.

  • Gail - 2010-05-27 17:25

    I am only a woman and not the least bit interested in Thugby however the real problem is that this is a poor province economically and cannot offer their own players the sort of lucrative rewards they are offered by other clubs. These players have a finite period in which to use their prowess and passion and will obviously go where the most money is. Thugby is to men what modelling is to boys. If you don't use it while you have it you can't use it at all.

  • Fiekie RUGBY FREAK - 2010-05-27 23:52

    the lions have been under performed in super rugby for a long time, just kick to the hell out especially after LOSING ALL THEIR GAMES this year and give another team a chance

  • Leon - 2010-05-28 11:37

    The teams that make up the southern kings cant even preform well in the vodacom cup en there isn’t 1 team in the curry cup so how can thus better south African super rugby? Thus is just racially motivated and there is individuals hows goings to make a lot off money of the super rugby team. "It's difficult to contract players or do anything until we know what is going on," so they are planing to import a lot of players when they get a franchise so it wont improve the area or “THE LOCAL BLACK PALYERS” there vodacom teams are majority whites so again thus is just some racial BULL @$@$ Again and I am glad that organ Hoskins are thinking of the bigger picture and not just the EMOTIONS, racial Motivations and the pockets of a hand full of people. And if i can get prove that all 500 clubs are still in working operation with fully functional teams and are playing in some sort of tournament not just on paper? Come on does no body see??? it its only to full up the numbers so that is will look impressive 20 000 black payers ha ha ha ha ha

  • Leon - 2010-05-28 11:39

    The teams that make up the southern kings cant even preform well in the vodacom cup en there isn’t 1 team in the curry cup so how can thus better south African super rugby? Thus is just racially motivated and there is individuals hows goings to make a lot off money of the super rugby team. "It's difficult to contract players or do anything until we know what is going on," so they are planing to import a lot of players when they get a franchise so it wont improve the area or “THE LOCAL BLACK PALYERS” there vodacom teams are majority whites so again thus is just some racial BULL @$@$ Again and I am glad that organ Hoskins are thinking of the bigger picture and not just the EMOTIONS, racial Motivations and the pockets of a hand full of people. And if i can get prove that all 500 clubs are still in working operation with fully functional teams and are playing in some sort of tournament not just on paper? Come on does no body see??? it its only to full up the numbers so that is will look impressive 20 000 black payers ha ha ha ha ha

  • Moaner Vleis Draadkar - 2010-05-28 11:47

    this debate will rage on for the next decade. stop messing the people around and give them a genuine chance. what has happened here is truly criminal. the two inland franchises i.e. lions and cheetahs need to become more competitive, join resources or move out, simple. if it was the sharks, stormers or bulls i would support a similar outcome as i did when the bulls were playing shocking rugby. give the kings everything they need and then we can deliver a qualified prognosis. good people will support good rugby no matter where it is played, simple. i would applaud a win by the kings as easily as a win by any other team irrespective of the composition of the team. let rugby be the winner.

  • Namibian - 2010-05-28 12:56

    Lions saam Cheetahs het nie gewerk nie. Te ver uit mekaar. Beste om die twee unies wat langs mekaar is saam te smelt. Lions saam bulle.

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