EPRU president Cheeky Watson says the new Eastern Cape franchise will be for black Africans.
Watson briefed the National Assembly’s sport and recreation committee on Friday about the new team that is set to be part of an expanded Super Rugby competition from 2012.
“We make no apology that this is a black African franchise that’s going to be launched on 16 June,” he said, just days after Saru announced that the Boks could not play the NZ Maori in June because the Maori are a racially-selected team.
Watson claimed the sixth SA franchise was more important to the game in the country than the 2015 and 2019 World Cups that SA Rugby is bidding for.
“This is a franchise that’s going to touch every single corner of South Africa,” he said. “And I really think that this is something that is going to impact and really change the face of South African rugby like never ever before.
“And I think we’ve got to realise that there are one or two people who will stand in the way, but we’ve got to push this thing through, we’ve got to make this thing successful and make this thing happen. ”
“Now is the time to deliver this franchise. Now is the time to launch this franchise. And I think from our side, we’re not going to compromise, we’re not going to stand back, we’re not going to make excuses about raising a black African franchise.
“If you look at the whole design and the launch of this franchise, it is very much African. If you take the logo and compare the logo to the rest of the logos in the Super 14 arena, this logo sticks out like a sore thumb. It incorporates over 500 years of history in the Eastern Cape. It encapsulates transformation like transformation has never been encapsulated, and it takes us as the Eastern Cape people, and places our heritage, our culture, our history in the forefronts of the world.”