SA Rugby to review Super 14 franchises




The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has recommended that none of the existing South African Super 14 teams should be relegated from next year’s tournament and that the decision to include the Southern Spears in the tournament be rescinded.

This follows a meeting of the SA Rugby President’s Council in Cape Town where it was also decided to recommend that an inquiry should be launched into the Southern Cape franchise’s viability and readiness to compete in next Super 14 competition.

After the meeting SA Rugby managing director Johan Prinsloo said, however, that it had been decided that there should be “no relegation or promotion of existing franchises at the end of the season”.

This follows a decision taken by the President’s Council on June 8 last year that the Spears should be included in the 2007 Super 14 and that there participation should be guaranteed for two years.

At the same time it was decided that the bottom placed South African team on this year’s Super 14 log should be relegated and that next season the Spears would be exempt from relegation.

The decision was ratified by the SA Rugby Board in December. The Board will now meet next Wednesday to consider the latest recommendations of the President’s Council. Friday’s meeting was the first chaired by newly elected SA Rugby president Regan Hoskins.

It was also decided at the meeting that Hoskins, SA Rugby deputy president Mike Stofile, vice president Koos Basson and president’s council member Prof Jannie Ferreira would meet with the Ministry of Sport and Recreation to discuss corporate governance charges brought against former SARU president Brian van Rooyen.

It was also decided to rescind an earlier decision that SA Rugby would pay for Van Rooyen’s legal fees for the probe as an earlier President’s Council decision had not been provided with enough information to make a proper decision.

SA Rugby regarded the matter as “urgent” and said any investigation would be handled jointly between them and the Sports Ministry.

Hoskins said in a statement that SA Rugby was committed to helping the Spears make it into the big league – whether they take part in the competition now or later. He said an inquiry into the Spears would help them make an informed decision on the way forward for the franchise.

The appointment of national coaches was also confirmed at the meeting. They are: Chester Williams (SA A), Peter de Villiers (under-21), Eugene Eloff (under-19), David Dobela (Springbok Women), and Paul Treu (Sevens). Peter Jooste would remain Springbok convener of selectors along with Bok coach Jake White and Ian McIntosh.

SA Rugby deputy president Mike Stofile and SARU deputy chief executive Mveleli Ncula would represent South Africa on the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR).

Prinsloo also revealed that changes had been discussed for the Currie Cup structures, but SA Rugby first wanted to meet with the competition sponsors to discuss proposed changes to the tournament structures.

They also hoped that Griqualand West would wish to “continue to pursue that matter amicably within the spirit of the game”.

The Kimberley-based union has served papers on SA Rugby challenging the qualification criteria for this year’s Currie Cup and the matter had been set down for a court hearing on April 7.

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