Let’s talk rugby

ARE you tired of politics? I am afraid the worst is yet to come, so brace yourself – it is going to be bumpy. I think I can spare you the reality of our political situation for one week, especially as it seems the scheduled vote of no confidence in President Zuma will no longer take place next Tuesday.


The long-awaited announcement from Sanzaar about the reduction of the Super Rugby teams was officially made and, as was long rumoured, two South African franchises will be dropped as from next year. The competition will revert to 15 teams. While, as many expected, the Kings and Cheetahs are earmarked for the chop, the situation is either not as straightforward as we think or Saru is putting up an elaborate ruse to make it appear so.

Apparently, Australia pushed hard for South Africa to be kicked out of the competition altogether because crowds and TV viewers do not like SA teams.

Is that the reason why Mark Alexander and his team agreed to the loss of two franchises while the weak Australians lost only one?

If that is the case, then Alexander and Saru should be made to account for such weak capitulation even though SA has by far the biggest TV audience and brings in more money than the others.

Saru has to be seen to be fair to all the six franchises. The rugby body has come up with a convoluted mechanism to identify the two to go, including establishing a franchise rugby committee to start the process.

The committee will report to the executive committee which will table the matter in the general council for ratification. They set out the criteria to be used to decide. These are: sustainable support base, financial and economic sustainability, team performance, stadium and facilities.

Do you believe this will be a fair process or just a way to appear as if the process was fair so that when the decision, as predicted, comes, Saru is not heavily criticised?

Sentiments aside, whatever the decision to be taken, it must be for the general good of SA rugby and not a continuation of the old boys’ club. If that is the underpinning criteria, the Kings will stand a good chance. Out of the four criteria they can compete well on three and the election of the new executive last Sunday could herald a new dawn.

I believe the Cheetahs should be the team to go while the Bulls and Lions should combine.

This is the most sensible option in my view. Will it happen? I doubt it, but we can make our voices heard and lobby those who will make the decision. We also have the new sports minister to win over.

Happy Easter.

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