Lions set for chop?

Saru has confirmed its plan to relegate the last-placed South African franchise at the end of the season.

This proposed solution was made by Saru’s executive council at its special general meeting in January. The top four teams on the SA conference log would therefore join the Kings in 2013. As it stands, the Lions would drop out.

Saru said a promotion-relegation play-off would then take place after the 2013 and 2014 campaigns.

However, the franchises requested that a decision on the mechanism of qualification be postponed to allow them time to make alternative proposals. The officials at the general meeting accepted the request. Saru CEO Jurie Roux asked for it to be recorded that this delay was at the franchises’ request, therefore precluding the franchises from criticism of late decision-making.

A final decision will be made after meetings with the SA Super Rugby franchises on 17 May, the Saru executive committee on 24 May and the Saru general council on 13 July (21 rounds into the 2012 Super Rugby tournament).

‘Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings’ place in Super Rugby in 2013,’ said Roux. ‘Our focus has been on finding a rugby answer to the questions that flow from that that’s fair, transparent in its mechanism and will strengthen South African rugby in the long run. Those discussions continue.

‘Until a final decision is reached, the franchises and the Saru presidency are agreed that it would be unhelpful to the competing teams to publicly debate the pros and cons of different scenarios. When a decision is announced we will be able to report back to rugby supporters in full.’