Spears get government backing

The sports ministry will insist on the Southern Spears being admitted to the Super 14 as planned next year.

Deputy Sport and Recreation Minister Gert Oosthuizen told The Herald that he expected that there would be “a raging debate and a whole lot of wrestling around the franchise. The ministry has made it very clear what we wanted and we have not changed our position on that.�

Last Thursday, Saru said after a meeting between the Southern Spears and the five unions that hold a Super 14 franchise that the parties had reached consensus on the issue of automatic promotion and relegation. After a constructive debate, the unions had decided “the question shouldbe further discussed after consultation with the board of directors of SA Rugby�.

At the time of the meeting, Spears’ chief executive Tony McKeever dismissed the decision as “absolute nonsense�.

“We all agreed at the president’s council,” he said. “This [the relegation of one of the five] is not a surprise. SA Rugby has the final decision and must come out in support of the agreement. It has total control of the competition structures.”