This will be for one year, whereupon promotion / relegation matches will be played, home and away, between the Lions and the bottom-placed SA Super Rugby Franchise, to see who plays the following year.
Cheeky Watson says that the voting went 23-6 in favour of the Southern Kings.
“All provinces have been consistently in support of the need for an Eastern Cape team in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition – Hoskins
“Our goal is to have 6 strong franchises covering the whole of South Africa, this decision keeps all of them in play on an annual basis – Jurie Roux
Jurie Roux: “We also canvassed Super 15 players before the season, through the Players’ Association, and this was their preferred mechanism”
Southern Kings CEO, Anele Pamba, confirms that they are in discussions with overseas players and some local (non-Lions) players. They will probably reveal names next Friday.
The 1st ‘BIG ‘ signing for the Southern Kings – Demetri Catrakilis has just announced he has signed for the Kings.
Cheeky Watson is very unhappy with the outcome of the 1 year deal, and says the Southern Kings will lodge an appeal against the ruling and ask for the 3-year guarantee promised by SARU.
“We are extremely disappointed at this result,” De Klerk said.
“This is a very unfortunate decision, which will result in a team taking part in a competition without needing to qualify on rugby merits,” he said of the decision to award the Kings a place in the competition.
The Lions boss stopped short of attacking SARU in his statement, but it is very clear they are not happy.
“We will take time to consider this decision and then to plan our response that best protects our players, staff, stakeholders and supporters,” De Klerk added.
More to follow…
SARU press release
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday confirmed South Africa’s participants in Vodacom Super Rugby at a General Meeting of the member provinces.
The top four teams in the South African Conference in 2012 (DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls, The Sharks and Toyota Cheetahs) will join the Southern Kings in the 2013 tournament.
The teams were confirmed after the General Meeting accepted a proposal first tabled by the Executive Council in January. The proposal was that: “The franchise occupying the lowest log position of the five franchises at the end of 2012 would be relegated.”
The MTN Lions, who finished bottom of the South African Conference, will have the chance to regain their status in 12 months’ time. The Executive Council had previously determined that the bottom team in 2013 would play in a two-legged promotion and relegation series against the relegated franchise. The promotion/relegation series will also be in place in 2014 and 2015 – at which point the broadcast contract expires.
“All rugby provinces have been consistently in support of the need for an Eastern Cape team in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU. “That decision was first taken in 2005 but their inclusion has twice been postponed.
“We made a commitment to the Kings to include them in 2013 and rugby has delivered on that commitment. The franchise represents more clubs than any other region – apart from the Stormers – and contains numerous leading rugby schools. It has been starved of top-class rugby competition for a decade and a half and now it has the chance to show what it can do.”
Mr Hoskins said that SANZAR’s decision to grant the 15th franchise to Melbourne in 2011 – rather than the Southern Kings – had created a dilemma for SARU. He said that the organisation and players had wanted a “rugby solution” to accommodate six franchises in five places and this had been delivered, as challenging as it was for the relegated team.
“The provinces asked for a rugby solution and we believe that this was the fairest and most transparent method to respond to what is undoubtedly a less than ideal situation,” he said. “We also canvassed Vodacom Super Rugby players before the start of the season, through the Players’ Association, and this was their preferred mechanism.Jurie Roux, the CEO of SARU, said that the decision to apply a promotion and relegation system from 2013 was standard practice in sport.
“We operate promotion and relegation in all our Absa Currie Cup competitions, with the bottom-placed team being relegated unless it wins a play off,” said Roux. “Our strategic goal is to have six strong franchises covering the whole of South Africa and this decision keeps all of them in play on an annual basis.”
SARU announced on Thursday that the Kings would play in the 2013 Super Rugby competition, with the Lions dropping out for at least one year.
“I think it is a ludicrous decision,” Watson said after the decision was made at a SARU general council meeting in Cape Town.
“It doesn’t make sense in rugby, not in business, not in the church.
“It doesn’t make sense in any sector of society that you are sitting with a scenario that you are in Super Rugby for one year and expected to achieve.
“But I think we, as the South Eastern Cape, play the hand that we are dealt and we make the best of it.”
SARU confirmed that the promotion/relegation playoff would also be in place in 2014 and 2015, at which point the broadcast rights contract expired and a different format could be considered.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins said the decision to include an Eastern Cape franchise in the Super Rugby tournament was first made in 2005, but was twice postponed.
“All rugby provinces have been consistently in support of the need for an Eastern Cape team in the Super Rugby competition,” Hoskins said.
“We made a commitment to the Kings to include them in 2013 and rugby has delivered on that commitment.
“The franchise represents more clubs than any other region — apart from the Stormers — and contains numerous leading rugby schools.
“It has been starved of top-class rugby competition for a decade-and-a-half and now it has the chance to show what it can do.”