Thanks for coming, Spears

The Southern Spears franchise won’t play in the Vodacom Super 14 if Oregan Hoskins becomes the new Saru president.

Hoskins, who is president of the Natal Rugby Union, told Beeld rugby writer Liam de Carme that a regrouping of provinces probably would have to take place to prevent the relegation of a local franchise. Ironically, it is the Sharks – Hoskins’ side – who are favoured to be replaced by the Spears in 2007.

“I’m not sure our system of six franchises is the best,” Hoskins told the newspaper. “The South Eastern Cape remains a priority and we must ensure it remains part of the sustainable programme. We must bring back this region’s glory days.

“The Spears are a reality in South African rugby. I don’t think it will do our rugby any good if one of our teams is relegated. There are enough things dividing our rugby and I don’t want to contribute.

“I don’t know if it was the right route to follow to get a panel to approve the franchises. I think rugby people could have taken such a decision and they still can.”

Hoskins and incumbent Brian van Rooyen have spent the last 10 days hard at work campaigning for the presidency, which will take either man through until the end of the 2007 World Cup.

Van Rooyen has reiterated his commitment to the Southern and Eastern Cape region, saying it would be immoral to change a decision that was taken by the President’s Council six months ago. Hoskins has argued the decision should never have been taken.