The South African Rugby Union and five franchises are set for a showdown, with the key point of discussion likely to be the implications of the Kings’ inclusion in Super Rugby.
While Saru spokesperson Andy Colquhoun could provide no details on the agenda, it is expected that the prickly issue of how a sixth South African franchise will be accommodated in next year’s tournament will be worked through. In January Saru’s general council guaranteed the Kings’ inclusion in 2013. However, they had no clear plan as to how to decide which franchise lost out.
They attempted to bully Sanzar into including a sixth franchise, but, speaking to keo.co.za, CEO Greg Peters shattered those hopes by insisting that the tournament structure had been agreed on by all franchises and sold to the broadcasters and commercial partners in a deal that runs until 2015.
‘The reality is that expansion of Super Rugby is not possible at this stage,’ Peters told keo.co.za. ‘Before their inclusion, the Kings’ aspirations were discussed in detail. How they are accommodated is a domestic issue for South Africa. And while we are always open to dialogue on this issue, it is incumbent upon them to make the necessary adjustments to facilitate the Kings’ inclusion.’
Saru later issued a statement saying that they were preparing to take a delegation to meet Sanzar representatives in order to lobby their cause, but later explained they needed more time to prepare their case.
In the absence of a clear agenda one can confidently assume this issue will take precedence. The Times quoted Colquhoun as saying: ‘If any decisions are taken, they cannot be implemented at that meeting and would have to go to the Saru general council before coming into effect.’ Colquhoun also confirmed that CEO Jurie Roux and president Oregan Hoskins would be among those attending the meeting.