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SA getting Cheeky with new Black Super 15 team

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The South African Rugby Union is about to come under pressure from their government to force through a Black Super Rugby team just days after they questioned whether they should play a New Zealand Maori team as it would be selected on the basis of colour alone.


Eastern Province rugby boss and SARU President’s Council member Cheeky Watson who is Luke Watson’s father is behind the team to be called the Southern Kings which will be launched on the 16th of June – the anniversary of the Soweto riots.


The rumoured plan is to launch the team which is listed in the British & Irish Lions tour schedule as a Coastal XV and then thereafter they will feature in an expanded Super 15 tournament.


Already South Africa have two teams that struggle in the Super 14 (the Lions and the Cheetahs) but the pressure is on for this 15th team which will no doubt struggle even more than the Cheetahs who were South Africa’s most recent addition.


Watson has urged Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile to intervene and ensure the “Super 15 franchise” issue is on the agenda for an upcoming Sanzar meeting which is ‘coincedentally’ to be held this week in Dubai where the Sevens World Cup is being played.


The SA Govt have given their backing for South Africa to bid to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup but this could have been done secretly on condition that the new “Black Super” team goes ahead.


If this is the case it would put SA Rugby in an very awkward position. They would have to insist that the “Black Super” Team be included in a new tournament but also because they said last week that they could probably not host the New Zealand Maoris because of a President’s Council ruling that prevented national teams playing sides that were selected on racial grounds.


Profits generated from a Rugby World Cup are so huge that if the RWC backing was conditional SARugby would have little choice but to insist on the inclusion of the new team in order to keep government backing for the Rugby World Cup.


SA Rugby were rumoured to be planning their departure from SANZAR until they denied any plans to leave last week. If Government pressure is big enough they could be forced to threaten their departure from SANZAR if the Southern Kings are not included in SANZAR’s Super14.


“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.”said Watson when he briefed the National Assembly’s sport and recreation committee.


“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.”


“We make no apology that this is a black African franchise that’s going to be launched on June the 16th,” Watson continued.


Watson also claimed that the franchise was more important to the game in South Africa than the 2015 Rugby World Cup that SA Rugby are bidding to host.


“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.”


Australia have been the drivers behind the expansion of the Super 14 with a Japanese or Pacific Islands team that will be based in Australia.


It is believed that Australia and New Zealand don’t have the funds or backers to support the extra team but the Southern Kings are rumoured to have the backing of a local broadcaster as the new format is said to include more local derby matches.


One can’t imagine that will all the work Australia have put in towards the expansion they will be terribly happy if South Africa get a sixth Super rugby team and they are still left with four and New Zealand five.


A simple way to include the Southern Kings in Super Rugby however would be to include them through a promotion/relegation system which would make the existing tournament more exciting as it would increase competitiveness.

 

Super14.com

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