Lions set to hear S15 fate

2012-08-13 19:19

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions Rugby Union faces a tough, telling seven days that could well determine the future of the once-proud union in the coming few years, reports

While their team made a good start in their defence of the Currie Cup title, the administration will be on tenterhooks this coming week as both the results of a lengthy arbitration process with franchise partners the Leopards and Pumas draws to an end, while on Thursday the Lions should know if they will be a Super Rugby franchise in 2013 or not.

The impact of both results will not only have a massive financial impact for the Lions, their players and fans, but also have an impact on their reputation as a franchise, their continued support in the Super Rugby series, including sponsorships and other related activities.

However, after several years of being the whipping boys of Super Rugby, and some inept financial management in the franchise, at least whatever the outcome, the once-proud Rugby union can finally know where it stands and move on.

Having secured contracts with the majority of their Currie Cup squad for 2013, the Lions are hopeful that a positive outcome will be in the offing on Thursday, especially as SARU’s General Council has balked on making a final decision for next season’s Super Rugby participants, despite declaring more than once that the EP Kings would participate in Super Rugby in 2013.

The decision has been postponed several times, with the likely losers being the Lions if the Kings do play Super Rugby next year, although there has been little clarity as well about how long such a situation would last and what promotion/relegation prospects there would be, if any.

With governing body SANZAR reiterating they would not be willing to look at a sixth South African franchise before 2015, the Lions have called on the situation to be sorted out until that date, and not just a one-season deal as many expect to happen.

But the waters have become murky with reports last month of a deal between the South African Rugby Union and the Kings, to futher develop the Kings for a later entry into the Southern Hemisphere competition, something both parties have actively denied.

Lions Acting CEO Ruben Moggee is in an unenviable position of having to try and sort out the Lions financial mess, with the sword of Damocles hanging over his head in terms of tournament participation, and is hoping for a positive outcome this week.

“We think it is definitely very important for a decision to be made, and for SARU to stick to it,” Moggee told,

“And whatever the outcome, for us to have finality about the future. It has been very difficult for us to run the business and contract our players and to motivate them with such an uncertain future lying ahead of us.

“We have heard stories about possible deals, but whatever they were, unfortunately such negotiations were done without us and any agreements would be solely between the Kings and SA Rugby. We will patiently await the meeting, we have given our submissions to SARU as to why we should stay a Super Rugby franchise and we know they have evaluated them. Hopefully we will have our answer soon. But whatever the answer is, we need it to go beyond just 2013, and rather as a decision that will bind all parties until 2015 when the next SANZAR contract will be negotiated.”

The other massive decision that will take place within the next seven days is the results of the arbitration between the Lions and their franchise partners, the Leopards and Pumas. The other two franchises claim they are owed amounts totaling R6m as their percentage share in the profits of the Super Rugby franchise, something the Lions have never paid.

The Lions in turn deny this, saying there was never a franchise agreement, and now that the arguments have been given in the arbitration hearing a result is expected either late this week or early next week.

Either way the Lions have again said they would love to have finality as - as Moggee puts it - “there are enough challenges to contend with elsewhere”.

“We have to hand in our final answers today and perhaps by Friday or Monday we will have a verdict. We’re hopeful, but as soon as clever lawyers are involved, you never know. It is also about a decision that was in 2006 where none of the current parties were involved, but we are confident,” Moggee added.

“We want to move forward and want this matter finalised and will bind ourselves by the arbitration’s findings, whatever they are.”

Either way things will be tense at the headquarters this week. The Lions are in a fight for survival and they know it. This week could well determine the outcome of that fight.


  • sparkie.spannenberg - 2012-08-13 19:33

    Die Lions is die laaste jare baie sleg. Kom ons kyk gou, -die coaching staff het gedurend verander en John Mitchell het die CC gewen, toe fire hulle hom, hy was die beste coach. Die enigste konstante faktor in die Lions se k*k jare is......Kevin de Klerk en sy makkers.

      spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-13 20:06

      Just get rid of the Stormers. A disgrace to world rugby.

      sparkie.spannenberg - 2012-08-13 20:43

      They can get rid of the Stormers. But then the viewership of Super Rugby will decrease by 60%, SANZAR's income will drop 60%, end of Super Rugby.

      nick.mullet.35 - 2012-08-13 23:13

      Not really because most people in the Cape watch the Crusaders games

      blou.johnny - 2012-08-14 01:10

      ..WP/Stormers = 11 year jokers/losers/chokers... ! ...ha ha ha ha ha ...!

      gerrit.volschenk - 2012-08-14 11:39

      En die Kings is beter ? Hulle is nogsteeds die beste no 5 in SA sover as wat dit die S15 kompetisie aangaan. Kevin de Klerk is geensins jare by die Lions nie hy het die chaos ge-erf en as oud speler en suksesvolle sakeman glo ek hy sal alles reg ruk. John Mitchel het ge-erf wat Loffie opgebou het Loffie moes nooit ge-fire geword het nie.

  • boltonbarry - 2012-08-13 19:38

    |lets give KDK and his bunsh of unmanagement a loud round of applause for screwing up a perfectly good thing

      Anthony - 2012-08-13 20:10

      come back louis all is forgiven

      spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-13 20:58

      And bring your fax machine.

      jacobus.vandermerwe.9 - 2012-08-13 22:52

      STOP the Kings - - STOP Watson!

      spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-14 06:52

      Jacobus, idiot.

      suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-08-14 07:53

      Jacobus, you are a indeed a qualified Idiot, but unfortunately for you Kings will be playing super rugby next year and as of you, you will still be an idiot you are

  • Louise Whittingstall Barnard - 2012-08-13 19:46

    The KIngs are not even in the top 6 curry cup teams so how do just get to play super15? surely they should first prove themselves by doing well in the curry cup first?

      suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-08-13 20:07

      Louisa it seems History or research are not your strong points, let me give you a task to do, go and find out how the other unions came to be as strong as they are, may be, just may be you may understand......

      brian.heunis - 2012-08-14 06:59

      @suidlander, maybe, just maybe you can get to spell 'maybe' correct?

      Dakey - 2012-08-14 09:35

      Stop poaching kids out of our schools and we will. There is a reason monopolies are discouraged by governments, same should apply to provincial teams offering players (from as young at 13) to play at other schools and pay them a salary. The US have very strict regulations on this type of behaviour, SARU should do the same.

      spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-14 10:28

      Dakeyras, the government will not stop me from playing Monopoly with my family.

  • suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-08-13 20:03

    Indeed they were good about 20 years ago, now they are useless, I pity those who still watch these clowns, Lions management is worse than ANC deployed cadres.

      gerrit.vanbreda1 - 2012-08-13 21:22

      En die Kings se bestuur is beter?

      Dakey - 2012-08-14 09:38

      @gerrit: Kan die Kings se bestuur slegter wees? Gooi vyf honderd miljoen Oos Kaap se kant toe en ons sal definitief beter uitslae he as as the Leeus.

  • Phil.Kleynhans - 2012-08-13 20:48

    Let the Lions play out a relegation game against the EP kings because I am telling you now the EP Kings is going to fall out of a Boeing against the other teams. They are going to mess SA name in the rugby world

      Jack - 2012-08-13 21:15

      Agree that Kings wont do that well but can they do worse than Lions who have messed sa rugby name in world for the last couple of years.

      Jack - 2012-08-13 21:15

      Agree that Kings wont do that well but can they do worse than Lions who have messed sa rugby name in world for the last couple of years.

      brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-08-14 15:17

      Phil, they might be wooden spoonists but I still think the records for poor performance setup by the lions in 2010 will remain. The Kings not completely there yet, but I think people over estimate the margins they will be losing by.... and the 87-0 loss in the pre-season that people like to mention doesn't count, as the same people who like to bring that margin up forgets to mention (or they are uninformed) that that team was made up of the Border Bulldogs and 1 or 2 SWD 2nd string players. (not at all a true representation of the team). Rather use the other 2 results against the sharks and stormers (both made it to the playoff round this year) as a true reflection on the Kings. (the sharks and stormers both fielded full strength teams) The Kings (full strenght) where competitive against them both (Sharks and Stormers) and only lost by a few points and kept it very close up till the end. Since then the Kings have made a few more signings , obtained a few specialist coaches such as skills, kicking and defence none of which they had before. So they have only been improving. I realy think people are under estimating them. (Still wooden spoonist with current squad - but not a complete walk over as people might think)

      louis.bensch.31 - 2012-08-15 08:26

      @Phil, net as politiek nie betrokke was nie sou dit seker gebeur het en dan sou die Leeus hulle opgemors het, maar ek dink hulle weet dit dis hoekom dit nie gaan gebeur nie, puke se pa kots het alles gereel want saru het geen rugraat nie.

  • Louise Whittingstall Barnard - 2012-08-13 21:04

    Suidlander what do I need to understand? The kings want to walk before they crawl??????? They not competing domestically but want international status? just saying they should surely be doing curry cup duty first and prove their worth before embarrassing SA rugby on the international platform? And please don't talk down on me rather explain what you talking about?

      suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-08-14 07:46

      Louise, Lions have been embarassing SA Rugby overseas for a decade now, so Kings can't do any worse than these guys, remember it will take roughly three years to get a good team whereas the LIons have been on a downward spiral and the management there is so incompetent its not even funny anymore

      louis.bensch.31 - 2012-08-15 08:28

      @ Suidlander, en hoeveel jaar bestaan OP al en hulle maak nogsteeds hulle name g@t hier in S.A.

  • - 2012-08-14 07:35

    Managing a rugby union is a BUSINESS that needs to be run by BUSINESS people, not ex-rugby players. Business people has the skills to make BUSINESS decisions while ex-rugby players might have skills to give back to the sport itself on and off the field. The Sharks Rugby Union is a great example of where qualified business people manage a business (and all the aspects of the business). Sorry Kevin de Klerk, but you're an ex rugby player who doesn't know how to run a business (GLRU).

      suidlander.vanwyk - 2012-08-14 07:50

      Rugby fan, I agree with you on this one, Bulls and Sharks have really good business minded people running their unions, Lions had the Guptas but then again they decided to politicise the whole thing, basically they had board members who don't have a clue about how business is run and expected the Guptas to keep quiet

      nico.pretorius.946 - 2012-08-14 09:41

      Kevin de Klerk is actually a successful business man in his own right. He has only been with the Lions for 2 years now and already got a CC title to show for it. The mess the previous management left is just so much to sort out!!

  • Hansie.Crook - 2012-08-14 09:05

    Over the past 3 Super 15 seasons the Lions have done nothing to prove that they deserve to be in the Super 15. Im sure the Knights can not do any worse than the Lions have already done. If they get to be placed at number 15 then they would have done what Lions have already done.

      wanderering.wanderer - 2012-08-14 09:38

      Maybe you should stick to watching Disney and not comment if you do not even know what the teams are called, it is the Kings and not the Knights. It is chops like you that want to jump on the bandwagon and shoot your mouth off to seem inteligent.

      Hansie.Crook - 2012-08-14 11:21

      hahahahahahaha Askies wanderer.... Honest mistake.

  • nico.pretorius.946 - 2012-08-14 09:06

    One question though, the reasoning for the EP to be included in Super Rugby is for them to develop their local talent, and that they can't do this without being exposed to this international level of rugby. Because they do not have a proper competition, they can't improve enough to be competitive in the local CC Premier division. How does teams like Griquas, Pumas and Boland manage then to develop their rugby talent? Griquas even manages to play CC Premier devision and manages to be competitive without being exposed to Super Rugby.

      brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-08-14 14:58

      nico - the salaries paid to players who play for the griquas and play super rugby for the cheetahs are shared by griquas and the cheetahs. (so the griquas get financial aid from the cheetahs). Their players also get super rugby exposure through the cheetahs (so they do get exposure). And as for the Pumas and Boland.... they are both below the Kings on the current log. None of the Kings franchises where linked to any super rugby teams, the boland is linked to the stormers, the pumas to the Lions... Then people say EP sold their share to the sharks... The argument people make for the Cats failing is the distance between the cheetahs and the lions... the distance between EP and Durban is even larger so that was going to fail due to the same reasons anyway.

  • gerrit.volschenk - 2012-08-14 11:35

    I am so tired of hearing that the Lions are the whipping boys of the tournament.We all know that.Fact is you are set to replace them with a side who can not even win a Vodacom Cup never mind a B -Section Currie Cup. Are they all of a sudden going to develop into a super group of players. No self respecting rugby player will trade his jersey to wear a Kings jersey and they will fall hard with their current squad. I say let them play and let the rugby world laugh at them.

      brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-08-14 15:08

      Gerrit - if you let us play we will be greatful for the chance to try and prove people wrong. Not winning the vodacom cup.... (70% of that team was made up of academy players of 21years and younger - so can not use that as an argument). Can't win the 1st division (B-section)??? (check the current log halfway in and they have a 6 point margin and in the lead). Agree, the current squad not strong enough, but the squad would have been completely different had SARU backed the disicion made in January.... through the delay tactics they used they have screwed both unions... the kings lost possible signings due to uncertainty on their super status and the Lions have been losing players to other unions because of their status not being assured. Due to SARU's crap 2 unions are suffering. As a Kings supporter I just want them to make a disicion - I dont care which way it goes now (would prefer Kings) but at this stage any desicion is a good one as 2 unions are suffering.

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