EP could save Spears

Eastern Province’s rugby clubs are fighting for the Spears’ participation in next year’s Vodacom Super 14.

According to a press release by the Hankey Villagers Rugby Club, EP have not signed away any shares to SA Rugby, nor waived their right of first refusal to the selling of the Sail’s shares of 24.9%, following a unanimous show of solidarity from EP’s 116 clubs to retain the asset value with EP Rugby and the Spears.

“Eastern Province rugby and its clubs will not be misled by SA Rugby’s hard charging desperate attempts to assume control of the Spears, by rail roading the clubs into a share deal that makes no sense,” said chairman of the Kouga sub union, Roger Serfontein, and spokesperson for over 70 clubs in the area.

“With the Spears playing in the 2007 Super 14, it will generate sponsorship revenues of millions of rands into the region, that will flow into the clubs and make them stronger. With the clubs stronger the Spears will become stronger. SA Rugby is unable to match the sponsors offers”.

Serfontein, also the Hankey Villagers Rugby Club vice president, said his club and others throughout the five sub unions have waited for years to have a Super 14 franchise in the region and SA Rugby needs to abide by the High Court order which orders that the Spears play in the 2007 and 2008 Super 14. “We have the players and we have the sponsors,” he added.

Serfontein likened the Spears area with a population of eight million and the Spears as one franchise, to New Zealand, with a population of four million with five franchises and said that the participation of the Spears in the 2007 Super 14 is non-negotiable.