Currie Cup

Provincial Power struggle looms in SA





South African rugby faces another power struggle at its next meeting on July 1 after several of the bigger provincial unions accused the smaller unions of “hijacking” the national game.

This is according to a report in the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag, which revealed the behind the scenes revelations of backstabbing between provincial presidents as they struggle for control of South African Rugby.

According to the report, the big five unions — the Blue Bulls, Sharks, Lions, WP and Free State — are all livid at the way the smaller unions caucused to elect themselves onto the management committee which runs SA Rugby.

The unhappiness came to a head last week when Cheetahs president Harold Verster resigned as chairman of the Competitions committee in protest.

The growing unhappiness comes after the big five declared openly that they were unhappy at sharing the income of SA Rugby on an equal basis as the smaller unions.

“I hope the smaller unions know what they’re doing because they’re playing with the future of South African rugby,” one rugby boss told the newspaper.

Sharks president Peter Hassard confirmed to the newspaper that there was an unhappiness over the power struggle at the moment.

“It happens every time we have a meeting, the big five rugby unions stand together and we get outvoted by the nine smaller unions.

They decided the night before the last meeting that they would stand together and ensure that they took all the positions and that is exactly what happened,” Hassard said.

But one of the two presidents fingered as a ring leader — Pumas boss Hein Mentz – said that they were not picking fights with the bigger unions.

“Our fight is rather one of survival,” he said, “If the smaller unions fold, then SA Rugby will take a major blow which they had not reckoned on.

We don’t want to play in the same league as them, but rather in a lower league — we are realistic.

My personal feeling on the matter is that there is a place for both big and small unions and we are in the process of creating synergy between the smaller unions.”

Sapa –

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