Spears ready to strike

The Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever has stated they are “seriously considering legal action” following the decision by Saru to exclude the fledgling franchise from the 2007 Vodacom Super 14.

Speaking in the aftermath of a hurriedly organised press conference in which the decision was communicated, McKeever felt that the arrangement was far from satisfactory.

“Their statement is entirely flawed and is a cover up,” McKeever stormed. “This impacts 30 players and a coaching staff contracted in good faith and we must now consider our rights and will seriously consider legal action.

“At our last meeting our legal counsel has advised that our probabilities of success via the courts are strong, and thus obligate SA Rugby and the six franchises to the franchise agreement, thereby meaning the Spears will play in the Super 14 in 2007 and 2008.”

Saru president Oregan Hoskins revealed he had telephoned Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile to inform him of the Saru board’s decision, but McKeever contested Stofile’s apparent endorsement.

“The national government remains adamant that the Spears will play in 2007 and 2008.”

McKeever refuted recent allegations of financial mismanagement at the Spears.

“We are a totally transparent organisation, and there has never been no financial mismanagement. You cannot run a franchise on R3 million, it is impossible. The Cats are running on R18 million.

“To shut the door in the way it has been done is totally outrageous.”

Whilst the Spears threaten to contest the decision regarding their Super 14 participation, their right to participate in the Currie Cup this year was of immediate concern.

“With the Griquas situation, the format of the Currie Cup this year is not resolved. If the Top 8 format is stuck with, then the Spears are definitely in. But if the 14 Currie Cup format is stuck with, then we will not be in, which is something which will obviously concern us.”

McKeever also noted that he would welcome a relegation/promotion match with the bottom SA side in the Super 14, despite Saru’s dismissal of that proposal.

“We would love to challenge the Cats in a relegation match, that would be a perfectly fair solution to us.”

By Chris Hewitt