Tank Lanning

SA rugby meets Monty Python

2016-08-04 14:48
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)

It's two sleeps until the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby final which will see the exhilarating breath of fresh air that are the Lions up against it at the Cake Tin, but still in with a realistic shout of bringing home the silverware, and what are we doing

Wondering if a potentially liquidated EP will remain in a Currie Cup that won’t play 23-man squads because of costs, and pondering how Bok coach Allister Coetzee got himself into such a twist in explaining why the Boks cannot follow the Lions’ blueprint, and how he can possibly believe that there are only 20 or 25 truly top class players in South Africa.

It really has been a tragic week for South African rugby, and one that must have the rest of the rugby world not only giggling, but warming up the guffaw.

The Kings are one of the primary reasons for this year’s Super Rugby format fiasco - because our Presidents Council could not make a decision on which five franchises should represent South Africa, so demanded six. And now the EPRU are in all likelihood to be liquidated!

What happened to the money? Where is the accountability?

In the Currie Cup qualification farce, an amateur EP team (given they could not afford salaries) won only two games, yet were assured of Premier Division status as a Super Rugby region. Now potentially liquidated, and with Super Rugby players making like rats out of an aqueduct, there is no way they can hope to be remotely competitive in the Premier Division.

Embarrassing enough, but SA Rugby suggest a plausible last minute plan to replace them in the Premier Division with the Leopards, the team next on the qualification log.

Needing to be ratified by a unanimous vote by the turkeys voting for Christmas that make up the Presidents Council, they fail to attain said vote*. These turkeys don’t do plausible, you see!

So now the Currie Cup Premier Division will either include an inept EP side, or suffer a last minute downsizing to 8 teams!

Monty Python could not script it better!

It is bloody tragic, and until we move away from this archaic structure that sees the forward thinking commercial side of SA Rugby having to have everything ratified by a relic of the amateur era like the Presidents Council, our rugby will continue to regress.

It’s the same at provincial level where instead of the community side of the game being thankful to the professional side of the game for the funding they receive in order to run their clubs, they actually hold the power as it is they who vote in the union president.

Twenty-two-man Currie Cup squads because of costs which basically allows every team to cheat when under the pump come scrum time. This while they drop cash on a sponsor free qualification farce and allow the under-19s to play with 23- man squads?

Transformation goals for the national coach, but then not allowing him to talk about them in public, hence the poor man being unable to explain why he plans to use Trevor Nyakane as a “swinger prop”, or why he can’t make all the Lions players Springboks?

All in a week in which we should be backing the Lions to do what only one SA side has done in Wellington since the conference system started in 2011. How sad.

*In this particular instance one could argue that the Griffons had a case given that they had beaten the Leopards by 50 points, and the final round of games was played with weaker sides given that the top three on the log had already been decided. The point remains though, that they vote with self-interest at heart, and not for the greater good of South African rugby.

Tank Lanning is a former Western Province prop and vociferous tweeter from @frontrowgrunt.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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