The Spears and SA Rugby showdown set for today has been averted for the time being.
SA Rugby released a statement saying the immediate threat to the Currie Cup, which starts tomorrow, no longer existed. Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever though told keo.co.za that a disruption to the competition could still occur.
â€œSA Rugby has noted with delight the news that the Southern Spears court application will not proceed on Thursday June 22. By agreement between the parties involved, the matter will now be heard on August 10. This means that the Absa Currie Cup will commence tomorrow, without any immediate threat of legal action hanging over the process,â€ the statement from SA Rugby said.
McKeever, however, said that that statement was â€œflawedâ€ and that the judge had ruled today to set the new court date for July 20. This he said had been â€œreached by mutual agreement.â€
Said McKeever: â€œThat (SA Rugby) statement is wrong, in fact it is flawed. There has been no mutual agreement on that date (August 10). We are still adamant we can participate in this yearsâ€™ Currie Cup.â€ The fact that it will disrupt the competition at a later date did not phase McKeever in the least. â€œThat is SA Rugbyâ€™s problem. They drew up the fixtures and if we win our application we will go ahead.â€
SA Rugbyâ€™s statement continued: â€œWe are happy that the Southern Spears court action will in no way disrupt the beginning of the season of such an important domestic rugby competition. Without engaging in the merits of the Southern Spears case, we had earlier expressed our deep concern that rugby matters were now being subject to legal action when there were avenues to approach concerns within the spirit of negotiation and co-operation, in the best interests of rugby.
â€œFurther, it is unfortunate that Southern Spears opted to institute their legal action right on the eve of the ABSA Currie Cup kick off, causing unnecessary panic and unease within the rugby fraternity.
â€œWe call upon all rugby stakeholders to put the interests of the game above everything else when they take crucial and far-reaching decisions. After the turmoil of the past few years, the new administration strongly believes rugby leaders, at all levels, need to approach issues with a sense of maturity and circumspection, and not seek to score points in the public eye – at the expense of the game.
â€œSARU will comment further on the Spears court action only after the matter has been finalised,â€ the statement concluded.