When Brian van Rooyen was at the helm of SA Rugby, you couldn’t shut the Minister of Sport up when it came to commenting on rugby issues, especially the Spears Vodacom Super 14 participation. How things have changed.
Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile and his brother Mike, who forms part of the SARU presidential hierachy, have been absolutely silent since SARU president Regan Hoskins announced on Friday that the President’s Council had recommended a review of the Spears decision to participate in the 2007 Super 14.
Other ANC members have jumped to the cause of the Spears, but the two men most vocal in wanting the Spears to play in the competition are missing in action.
Could it be that Van Rooyen is no longer an irritation for the two brothers?
The Port Elizabeth-based EP Herald newspaper reported ANC regional chairperson Stone Sizani as saying it would not be tolerated if the Spears were given the boot. Both Stofile’s haven’t said a word.
Sizani added that there could be no acceptable reason for Friday’s SARU recommendation and described it as a slap in the face to the Minister of Sport Stofile.
“They (Saru) are putting us in a terrible state,” Sizani said. “They gave us the assurance that we would be part of it (the Super 14 competition) next year. There is no basis whatsoever for them to do a U-turn now.”
Sizani said there was no basis to the excuse that a study be done on the Spears ability to cope with the demands of Super 14.
“They should have done their investigations a year ago before they took the decisions and before they created the expectations.”
He said he had spoken to new SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins and Stofile and both had assured him the Spears would play Super 14 rugby next year.
“Stofile intervened to make the Spears’ participation a reality. If Saru goes through with the plan to rescind its decision, it will be a slap in the face of both the minister and the ANC.
“This is not only about the Spears as a team. This is about the region, our hopes and our aspirations. The ANC will await the (board’s) decision with interest.”
News agencies reported that attempts to get comment from the Stofile brothers had been unsuccessful.