Graeme Joffe

SA Rugby responds...

2012-10-17 09:42
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
It’s a start.

SA Rugby have responded to the questions in my last column, but most of the answers have left me with more questions.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux was obviously given the hospital pass and as expected: Plenty denial, no accountability, avoidance of some questions  and keep the door open for the Kings should they finish in the Super Rugby promotion/relegation playoff spot next season.

The Lions may not even get to play in a promotion game next season if the unions decide.

Amazing the pull Cheeky Watson has over SARU.
Politics is still king in SA sport.

At a later stage, I will address some of the points made by Mr Roux but for now, his response to Question 4 gives you an idea of what kind of leadership we dealing with in SA Rugby.

Did SARU and Jurie Roux not say “No other SA team would fall out for the Kings inclusion in 2013”?
Jurie Roux: No, never.

Did he forget saying this

In May this year, Roux told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, “the Kings will play in the competition in 2013, but not at the expense of one of the other franchises.”

So, how do we take the rest of his answers seriously: Are we getting the truth or the same old SA Rugby spin?

Surely, it must be getting close to a vote of no confidence in the SA Rugby leadership?

1. On January 30, 2012 - did the unions vote in favour of a proposal that the bottom team in 2012 be relegated and appear in a promotion play off at the end of the 2013 campaign OR did they vote for the Kings inclusion, not at the expense of another SA union?
Jurie Roux: The Vodacom Super Rugby unions asked not to put that proposal to the vote in order to allow them more time to suggest alternative proposals such as the redrawing of boundaries – which was one of the ideas that was mooted. The meeting granted them their wish at the same time as re-affirming the Kings’ inclusion in the competition in 2013. The members were warned of the implications of delaying any decision and advised that by so doing they could not, at a later date, complain of the lateness of any decision.

2. What else did SARU put on the table?
JR: The appointment of Heyneke Meyer as the Springbok coach (which was ratified)

3. Why was the onus on the Unions to come up with a solution – when in fact SARU put the cart before the horse with a “16th” franchise?
JR: SARU is the unions. The unions committed to the Kings’ inclusion a number of years ago and in 2009 SARU submitted a tender on their behalf to become the 15th franchise when Vodacom Super Rugby expanded in 2011. The Kings’ case was described by SANZAR as: “more advanced with regard to business and financial planning and organization structure and governance…The Southern Kings were also able to point to a strong rugby tradition, a large playing base and presented a stronger case than Melbourne as to their rugby readiness.” However, the Rebels were awarded the expansion slot on the grounds of geography. Our SANZAR partners have since rejected the acceptance of a sixth South African franchise. The most transparent solution to the hard fact that six into five won’t go was the one tabled in January. This solution was the preferred choice of the South African Rugby Players’ Association. Everyone would prefer to have six teams involved in Super Rugby but the reality is that that is not going to happen and this arrangement at least keeps all six franchises in play until the broadcast deal can be re-negotiated.

4. Did SARU and Jurie Roux not say “No other SA team would fall out for the Kings inclusion in 2013“?
JR: No, never.

5. What changed?
JR: Nothing has changed

6. Were any of the Unions that voted the Lions out promised any incentives from SARU ie Test matches, money?
JR: Absolutely not.

7. How much money has SARU put into the Kings since becoming a shareholder?
JR: Not a cent.

8. Is SARU compensating the Lions and their fans in any way?
JR: They will continue to receive their franchise allocation but nothing in excess of that, unless the SARU Exco reconsiders the position. And nor will the team that does not participate in 2014 or 2015.

9. Is SARU taking any disciplinary action against Mark Keohane or the Kings for being an unaccredited agent/manager of Luke Watson?
JR: We have no direct knowledge of which agent is acting for which player and can only act if a complaint is laid.
10. Why is the onus on the provinces to confirm that an agent acting for a player is properly accredited? Surely, the onus is on SARU?
JR: Because SARU is not a party to a union’s negotiations with its players and therefore cannot know who is acting for whom.

11. Why did SARU not look at including the Kings in the Currie Cup 3-4 years ago?
JR: The Kings are in the Currie Cup.

12. Was there any government intervention in the Kings decision?
JR: No.

13. Is the govt and SARU involved in a sec21 company to assist with growing talent in the Eastern Cape?
JR: No. SARU has applied for and been granted Lotto funding, however, for rugby academies in Boland, SWD, Border and Eastern Province. SARU also made applications for academies in the Griffons, Pumas, Leopards and Valke regions which were unsuccessful. 

14. What dates will the Super Rugby promotion/relegation playoff be next year and the format?
JR: Those details need to be confirmed by the Games & Policies committee but there is an existing model in the format of the Absa Currie Cup playoffs which is decided on log points over the two matches, in the first instance.

15. If Kings finish in the relegation spot, will the goalposts be moved again?
JR: The Unions (SARU) are responsible for identifying SARU’s entrants in Vodacom Super Rugby. Participation in 2014 and 2015 is their call, as it was for 2013.

Email Graeme at:

Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 169 and streaming worldwide on Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

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Read more on:    saru  |  jurie roux  |  graeme joffe  |  rugby


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