Southern Kings

SA Govt slapped in the face over Spears Super 14 future



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SA Rugby’s u-turn on the participation of the Southern Spears in next year’s Super 14 competition is “a slap in the face” for Sport Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, as well as for the ANC (the leading party in SA govt.), The Herald newspaper reports.

“It will never be tolerated,” ANC regional chairman Stone Sizani said.

He said there could be no acceptable reason for Friday’s recommendation by the President’s Council of the SA Rugby Union (Saru) to reverse an earlier decision to give the Eastern and Southern Cape franchise an automatic two-year berth in the Super 14 competition from next year. Instead, the council recommended an investigation into the state of readiness of the Spears.

The Saru board will vote on the recommendation on Wednesday. “They (Saru) are putting us in a terrible state,” Sizani said. “They gave us the assurance that we would be part of it (the Super 14 competition) next year. There is no basis whatsoever for them to do a U-turn now.”

Sizani said the excuse that an investigation should be carried out “simply has no basis”. “They should have done their investigations a year ago before they took the decisions and before they created the expectations.”

He said he had spoken to new SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins and Stofile and both had assured him the Spears would play Super 14 rugby next year.

“Stofile intervened to make the Spears’ participation a reality. If Saru goes through with the plan to rescind its decision, it will be a slap in the face of both the minister and the ANC. “This is not only about the Spears as a team.

This is about the region, our hopes and our aspirations. The ANC will await the (board’s) decision with interest.”

Both Stofile and his brother, Saru deputy president Mike Stofile, have been outspoken supporters of the Spears’ participation in the Super 14 next year.

However, repeated attempts to get comment from them regarding the about-turn have been unsuccessful. Both have not returned calls since Friday.

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