Local rugby supporters finally have a reason to smile.
The plan by the SA Rugby Union (SARU) to stem the enormous exodus of top players heading overseas, by way of joint contracts with its unions is gaining some momentum.
Rugby World Cup tough guys Damian de Allende, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe are among the list of about 20 players with whom SARU has already signed contracts.
The full list of names has not been made available, but it was confirmed that Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi, Handré Pollard, Pat Lambie and Jan Serfontein had also been contracted and could look forward to competitive salaries in line with those of Springboks playing overseas.
South Africa’s provincial rugby unions are reportedly at loggerheads over whether Heyneke Meyer should remain as Springbok coach.
Meyer’s position has been a hot talking point in recent weeks after the Springboks’ failure to win the Rugby World Cup in England.
Initial media reports indicated that Meyer would remain in his position until the next Rugby World Cup in 2019, but more recently it was reported that he could face the axe.
Meyer’s fate will be decided at a SARU general council meeting in Cape Town on 11 December.
The 29 members of SARU’s general council consist of the 14 provincial union Presidents and CEOs, as well as SARU president Oregan Hoskins.
Allister Coetzee looks set to be named the new Springbok coach in December.
It has reliably been learnt that Heyneke Meyer has lost the support of the majority of South Africa’s provincial unions and will be replaced at the General Council meeting of the South African Rugby Union on 11 December.
SARU has already postponed their General Council meeting by a week, to 11 December. It will be preceeded by a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.
Current team manager Ian Schwartz, who is employed as a permanent staff member of SARU, has apparently flown to Japan to speak to former Springbok Assistant Coach and DHL Stormers Head Coach, Allister Coetzee, to take over the national team.
Coetzee has an exit clause in his contract with Kobelco Steelers – the club he coaches in the Japanese Top League.
Former Springbok wing James Small says Emirates Lions coach Johan Ackermann deserves to be considered for the Springbok head coaching role.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) is set for its next General Council meeting on 11 December and it is at this meeting that the fate of under-fire Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be decided.
The latest mumblings are that Meyer could be offered a 1-year contract extension, but the possibility of Meyer being axed also exists.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has established an operational implementation task group to oversee the running of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby, SARU announced on Monday.
The group will meet in Cape Town on Wednesday to put in place the structures and processes required to take control of the running of the Southern Kings.
“We will be leaning heavily on EPRU personnel in this implementation process in due course and they are providing us with certain documentation to determine the current landscape at the franchise,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO.
SANZAR has appointed Andy Marinos as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
His new job will formally commence on 1 January 2016 and he replaces Greg Peters – who is taking over as CEO of the new Argentina Super Rugby team.
The South African, who is no stranger to the position, having previously served as CEO between 2008 – 2010, brings a wealth of business and rugby experience to the role, both as an administrator and professional player.
Marinos re-joins SANZAR from SARU, where he has served as General Manager of Commercial & Marketing for the past 5 years, in addition to SARU Acting Managing Director and Board Member (2008 – 2010), Springbok Team Manager (2008), Manager of South African National Teams (2005 – 2010) and World Rugby Sevens Advisory Group (2008 – 2015).
The South African Springboks have been stung by the loss of 2 key Sponsors, namely ABSA Bank and BMW!
The Springboks are set to lose their jersey sponsor after ABSA Bank decided not to renew its contract with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
According to the Sunday Times, the slow pace of transformation is one of the reasons for the decision.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has broken new ground by establishing a Rugby Education Foundation to support exciting, predominantly black young talent in Rugby Academies around the country.
Springboks Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane and Jan Serfontein will be in attendance with SARU Deputy President, Mr Mark Alexander, and former Springbok prop and EP Academy Manager, Robbie Kempson, when the plan is launched in Johannesburg next week.
Corporate SA is being invited to partner in the initiative which has a fundamental educational component to prepare young players for a post-rugby career. The new Foundation will support plans to expand the tertiary education component at the Academies in Border, Eastern Province, South Western Districts and Boland.
EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, held a media conference at the EP Rugby offices on Wednesday afternoon as financial issues continue to plague the union.
“This has never been about Cheeky Watson, it is about the Kings, it has always been about the Kings,” said Watson.
Watson said it was important to take note of the press release from SA Rugby issued on Tuesday 17 November 2015.
“There has always been a Plan B; I put the call in to SARU to come and bring stability, so that we can stop hemorrhaging players and focus on our preparations for Super Rugby,” he said.
Watson said he was constantly engaging with SA Rugby, including Rugby boss, Oregan Hoskins, and that the details around the implementation of the assistance still needed to be fleshed out.
“The cash flow crisis we have experienced is like a Greek tragedy. We want to thank SARU for stepping in to assist and we welcome whatever contributions they bring,” he said.
Watson said part of the intervention envisioned was to have members of the SARU mobi-unit come down to assist in support roles and bolster the Southern Kings coaching staff.
The South African Rugby Union extended its condolences to the family of legendary Springbok centre John Gainsford, who passed away on Wednesday morning following a long battle with cancer. He was 77.
Gainsford established himself as one of the greatest centres of his generation due to his powerful bursts and rock-solid defence.
He earned 33 Test caps and scored 8 tries during his Springbok career between 1960 and 1967, playing in 71 Springbok matches in total (including tour matches). He remained the most capped Springbok centre until as recently as 2001 when his record was finally overtaken by Japie Mulder.
Gainsford was a world-renowned player, who emerged from the Villagers Rugby Club in Cape Town. He made his Springbok debut on 30 April 1960 against Scotland at the young age of 21 and played his last Test at the age of 28.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Tuesday agreed to assist the Eastern Province Rugby Union by taking control of the Southern Kings franchise in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The action followed through a decision taken by the Executive Council of SARU some weeks ago to step into the Kings’ affairs if certain expectations were not realised.
The decision was actioned as a result of the on-going cash flow problems at the Union after the president of EP, Mr Cheeky Watson, contacted Mr Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU, to ask him to assist.
“We gave the Kings as long as possible to resolve their issues through their own efforts but the point had been reached where they could wait no longer,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“It is a decision we have had to take reluctantly but it is now 102 days until Vodacom Super Rugby moves into a new era with new teams and new nations taking part and we collectively agreed we could not allow South Africa’s new entrant to be under-prepared.”
Eastern Province Rugby has the spotlight on them after Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula told the media he will be paying EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson a special visit in the near future.
The reason for the urgent visit stems from a total of R 35 Million Rand the Union received from the National Lotteries Board for the establishment and development of the SARU Kings Academy.
“I will be on my way to the Eastern Cape very soon so that I can personally see where the Academy is and where the black players are that were supposed to be recruited. I expect a report from him (Watson). The Kings are meant to be the homeland of black players and that was the reasoning behind them getting a Super Rugby spot. The last time I was there, all I saw was white players and never saw any of the black players who were supposed to be there,” Mbalula told a media briefing.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has delayed its General Council meeting by a week.
The meeting was originally due to take place on 4 December and is understood to have a major influence on whether or not Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s contract is extended following the Springboks semifinal exit at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The meeting will now take place on 11 December and will follow a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.
Sports minister Fikile Mbabula is expected to brief the media on Thursday on the Springboks’ performance in the Rugby World Cup, as well as on transformation in the national team.
South Africa lost to New Zealand in the one semifinal of the tournament, following blistering wins against Samoa, Scotland and the USA. Those victories came after the Springboks lost in their opening game against Japan.
There has been debate about the racial make-up of the team, especially from the side of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) – who has taken a strong line against coach Heyneke Meyer.
Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Tuesday that Meyer “must rest assured that he is not welcome in rugby by the majority of SA supporters and he should go”.
South African Rugby Union (SARU) CEO Jurie Roux says they had no choice but to move their Sevens World Series event away from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
Roux was speaking to journalists in Cape Town on Wednesday after the announcement of several new sevens signings for the Springbok Sevens team.
Cape Town will in December host the South African leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the 1st time after the event had been held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth since 2011.
Roux said that it was imperative for South Africa to host a successful tournament as World Rugby had insisted that the event be staged at an iconic destination.
“In terms of their criteria, only the tournaments at Twickenham and Hong Kong were successful,” said Roux.
Rugby World Cup Springboks Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende and Lwazi Mvovo are among a host of 15-a-side stars who will be in contention for places in South Africa’s Olympic Sevens squad, the South African Rugby Union announced on Wednesday.
They will be joined by Springbok team mates Juan de Jongh, Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks and Oupa Mohoje at a 3-week training camp from Sunday in Stellenbosch as part of the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) new Sevens strategy in Olympic year, announced Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.
Habana has returned to his French club side Toulon and will join the training camp towards the end of the month. SARU also confirmed that Springboks Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski had already signed contracts to play for the Springbok Sevens team this season.
In addition, provincial 15-a-side stars Cheslin Kolbe, Rayno Benjamin, Warrick Gelant and Jaco Kriel have also been invited to join the camp alongside SARU’s powerful, existing Sevens squad.
The positons of the Springbok coaching and management team for the 2016 season and beyond will be reviewed by the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), SARU announced on Monday.
Jurie Roux, the chief executive officer of SARU, said that the contracts of all of the national team’s coaching, medical and logistical staff expire at the end of the year.
“The Executive Council (Exco) has the power to appoint management and coaching staff with the exception of the position of the Springbok coach, which is ultimately decided by the General Council of SARU,” said Roux.
“That body meets on 4 December when the positon of the Springbok coach for 2016 will be on the agenda. Once all affected individuals have been notified of any decisions a public announcement will be made, which is not expected before 5 December.
“We realise the great public interest in the subject and this is easily one of the most important decisions we take as an organisation. Supporters will understand therefore that we have many factors to consider before any announcements can be made. Those deliberations cannot take place in public out of respect for individuals and our governance structures.”
Media are advised that SARU will make no further comment on the process until any announcements have been made.
’n Basiese kontrak van R 5 miljoen per jaar, aansporingsbonusse uitgesluit.
Dís glo die vergoeding waartoe die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) ingestem het in die nuwe kontrak met Heyneke Meyer, die Springbok-afrigter.
Volgens bronne het Meyer al voor die Wêreldbeker-toernooi ’n kontrak onderteken om die span vir nog 4 seisoene, tot in 2019, af te rig.
Oregan Hoskins, SARU se president en voorsitter van die uitvoerende raad, het Vrydag benadruk dat die finale besluit by die Algemene Raad sal lê. Elke provinsiale rugbyunie word in die Algemene Raad verteenwoordig.
Die kwessie gaan na verwagting vroeg in Desember ter tafel gelê word.
Uit verskillende oorde is verneem Meyer kry aansporingsbonusse vir die verowering van die Wêreldbeker, ’n wenpersentasie van meer as 60% en ’n 2de plek op die wêreldranglys.
Die kontrakkwessie hang al weke lank soos ’n wolk oor Suid-Afrikaanse rugby, met SARU wat dit nog nie onomwonde in die openbaar ontken het nie.
We take a look at different views on whether the South African Springboks coach, Heyneke Meyer, should stay on as Springbok coach till the next edition of Rugby World Cup or whether he should be replaced as coach.
Rugby365’s JAN DE KONING and Sport24’s GARRIN LAMBEY are of the opinion that Heyneke Meyer should stay on as coach, whereas Sport24’s Herman Mostert believes Heyneke Meyer should be replaced.
My own opinion is that South Africa lacks quality coaches, who could take the Springboks up a notch or 2 and I do not believe the South African rugby culture, SARU’s stoid stance on rugby and the political environment is at all condusive to appointing a foreign coach, to take the Springboks further and upwards. I therefore believe that Heyneke Meyer should stay on, but I also believe there are a number of things which needs to change, to make the Springboks serious contenders for the World No 1 spot.
Let’s take a look at the different views:
High-level discussions between Eastern Province Rugby, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the South African Rugby Players’ Association (SARPA) took place in Port Elizabeth on Thursday to review the current and future financial stability of the union.
The talks stemmed from concerns over the recent delayed payments to EP Kings players.
SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins, SARU GM Operations and Finance, Basil Haddad, and SARPA CEO Piet Heymans met EP Rugby officials.
Mr Hoskins said he had full confidence in the current leadership under EP Rugby President Cheeky Watson.
SARU says that it was with great sadness that they learnt on 21 September of the passing of Mike Stofile, a former deputy president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU). Mr Oregan Hoskins said he contacted him recently to tell him he was Hoskin’ brother and that he was in his heart.
Mike was a proud man who had clear views on rugby and sport and he unflinchingly stood for what he believed in his time at SARU. He was vice-president for 2 years and deputy president for a further 2 until 2008 after holding the presidency of the Border Rugby Union.
He publicly fought with his own president of the time – Brian van Rooyen – when he believed the game was being led astray but there were good times as well and he is remembered celebrating winning the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks in Paris in 2007.
South Africa could be asked to be on standby to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup following a series of setbacks to current hosts Japan.
According to 2 high-placed sources, SARU chief executive Jurie Roux this week held secretive meetings with World Rugby – formerly the IRB – to ascertain South Africa’s readiness to step in at the last minute should the Japanese not be able to meet their obligations to host the tournament.
World Rugby has criticised the Japanese Rugby Union, with some “fearing” they have given them an “ultimatum” regarding assurances that the stadiums are up to standard after it was revealed last week that the tournament would not be able to use the National Stadium.
This has led World Rugby to look elsewhere, with South Africa – who are already bidding for the 2023 tournament – being sounded out as to their readiness in case the Japanese are unable to meet their obligations.
While neither party is likely to admit to the meetings, 2 separate sources have confirmed that they have taken place and that SARU have indicated a willingness to help out if needed.
But for World Rugby to take the step to take the showpiece tournament away from the Japanese would be the last resort, especially as it forms a massive part of the global expansion plans of rugby to take it into new territories.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) may have to bail out the Eastern Province Rugby Union to end a player strike.
An ongoing stand-off between EP Rugby and the players, over the non-payment of salaries, has put in jeopardy the Currie Cup match between the Xerox Golden Lions and EP Kings in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The latest controversy follows a similar dispute in July, when New Zealander Carlos Spencer – then a member of the coaching panel – walked away from the team over non-payment of salaries.
The players were eventually paid at the end of July, with some reports claiming that it was the result of a SARU intervention.
Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) President Cheeky Watson responded with a terse “no comment”, when approached over the ongoing financial crisis at the Port Elizabeth-based union.
The South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA) confirmed they will meet with the players on Thursday, as the latest stand-off drags into a 3rd day.
The man trying to stop the Springboks from leaving South Africa needs to find a lawyer, a judge cautioned him on Wednesday, as he is jumping into waters where there are “fish that bite”.
“You may find that you are traversing an area which is like a pond on the surface. It looks calm, but underneath the waters flow with tremendous force, if you are not familiar with that terrain,” Judge Ntendeya Mavundla cautioned Tshidiso Mokhoanatse.
He was referring to the debate about transformation in sport, and society in general.
The leader of the Agency for New Agenda party was about to jump into the deep end and tackle the case on his own, when Mavundla advised him it would be best to get a “scuba diver” to help him.
Mavundla stood the matter down until 14:00 SA Time for a lawyer from the Bar Council or Law Society to help him.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has reportedly agreed to extend Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s contract.
Local media reports on Wednesday indicated that Meyer’s contract has already been extended by another 4 years until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
When these reports surfaced, SARU responded with the following statement:
“It is SARU policy to only make announcements on the contractual arrangements of key employees when there is something to announce. The contractual position of the Springbok coach is unchanged,” said a SARU spokesperson.
Meyer was also reluctant to comment when probed on the matter after naming his team for this weekend’s Test against Los Pumas.
“I said I want to serve and make a difference. If you ask every single guy on the street they would say I make a difference but in a negative way. The only thing I worry about is not the next 4 years, it’s the next 4 minutes,” he said at a press conference in Durban on Wednesday.
We desperately try to stay clear of political content here on Rugby-Talk.com, however this week, after the loss by the Springboks to Los Pumas in Durban, it appears that another mini-storm has been brewing regarding the inclusion or non-inclusion of non-white players (such an ugly term in a new and supposedly democratic South Africa) in the Springboks.
Firstly it was reported that 5 Black Springboks (yet another unfortunate term in the new South Africa) have apporached trade union Cosatu about being sidelined in Test matches for the Springboks.
Then of course Cosatu, as we have come to know their standard methodology, responded about the supposedly racist choices of SA Rugby, condemning it and shouting from the rooftops.
Then there was the logical retort from SARU… not that it cleared matters up at all.
The Minister of Sport & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, also jumped on board this discussion and seemed to be “the voice of reason” in this rather unfortunate circumstance, saying that South Africans must be patient with the pace of transformation in rugby in South Africa. From my side a small thank you to the Minister – good on you!
These political shannanigans always build on the discourse in South African traditional politics and fuel the devide, in stead of bringing harmony to this nation with so many possibilities.
I guess what I am asking myself, through all of this, is which other logical first choice Black Springboks merited 1st choice selection above their not so black peers?
Do we want the best team out there or do we want transformation tokens in our Springbok side?
To me it’s simple… do the transformation thing, but for goodness sakes, allow the Springbok coach to select the best Springbok squad out there, based on merit and merit alone, whether that squad only consists of White Springboks or only of Black Springboks or of a smattering of one and the other… the rest is immaterial to me!
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday named the SA Schools and SA Schools A squads for the Under 18 International Series against England, France, Wales and Italy in August.
The teams, which consist of 26 players each, were selected by a panel of national and SA Schools selectors following the conclusion of the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Stellenbosch.
The SA Schools squad will face Wales on 7 August in Stellenbosch, France on 11 August at Outeniqua Park in George and England on 15 August at City Park Stadium in Cape Town.
The SA Schools A squad, meanwhile, will take on Italy in Stellenbosch, England in George and Wales in Cape Town in their clashes, which will serve as curtain-raisers to the SA Schools matches.
Hein Kriek from Paul Roos Gymnasium has again been appointed the SA Schools coach, while Lance Sendin from Hugenote Hoerskool in Wellington will guide the SA Schools A team.
Following Western Province’s remarkable 95 / 0 victory against Eastern Province in the final match of the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, 12 players from the Cape side were selected in the SA Schools squad, while the remainder of the squad was made up of players from the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Eastern Province, SWD, the Valke and Griquas CD.
Eastern Province flyhalf Curwin Bosch, who was named the Coca-Cola Craven Week player of the year in 2014, was 1 of 4 players who retained their places in the squad, with the others being Blue Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier, wing Andell Loubser and Griquas CD looseforward Cobus Wiese.
Flip van der Merwe is 1 South African who might have a point to prove when he takes to the field in a World XV jersey against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.
The towering lock is not in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and the coach went on record in May announcing that Van der Merwe was unavailable for international rugby.
After that it was reported that a ‘contract dispute’ may be the reason behind the drama, but Van der Merwe revealed in Cape Town on Thursday that there had been communication issues surrounding his availability.
“I’m not selected, it’s as easy as that,” Van der Merwe, who has been named on the World XV bench for Saturday, said.
On the same day that SARU fired their General Manager of Referees, Andre Watson, it was confirmed that the University of Stellenbosch has instituted civil action against SARU’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jurie Roux.
Maties, as the university is popularly known, confirmed that it is suing Roux, although a spokesman for the institution declined to confirm or deny the details of the law suit.
“The university confirms that a summons was issued and served on 2 former employees of the university, namely messrs Jurie Roux and Chris de Beer,” Maties spokesman Martin Viljoen said.
“The summons follows a forensic audit undertaken a while back that showed certain irregularities, namely the unauthorised use of university funds, that are now being claimed.
“Since the case is pending, the university cannot at this time provide further information or comment,” he added.
According to media reports the amount Roux and De Beer are being sued for is R 32 Million.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) today confirmed the arbitration award that was issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to the effect that the employment of André Watson, the General Manager Referees, with SARU has been terminated.
At the beginning of this year, a number of people within the Referees’ Department lodged a grievance against Watson and SARU commissioned an independent investigation into the grievance.
As a result of the findings, the CCMA was requested to consider certain allegations relating to Watson. Contrary to some earlier reports, the allegations that were dealt with by the CCMA did not relate to racism, financial irregularities, misappropriation or match fixing but to the relationship between Watson and a number of people within the Referees’ Department and in turn the impact of such relationship on SARU.
The CCMA found that the allegations that had been levelled against Watson had been proved and as a consequence the CCMA found that the employment of Watson with SARU should be terminated. The CCMA’s finding is final and binding on SARU and Watson.
South African rugby is heading towards a coaching crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible, various experts have warned this week.
Former Bulls coach Chris Buitendach added his voice to the growing wave of concern over the state and depth of quality coaching in the country.
“It is a huge concern. 20 Years back we had a coaching conference and I said if we are not proactive in the training of coaches we won’t have quality coaches left,” Buitendach said at the launch of an international coaching conference in Pretoria on Friday.
“The biggest problem we have in South Africa is we don’t have a pathway where we identify coaches like we do with players.”
Buitendach said the country had a wealth of players but there were few coaches that could boast with a ‘CV of success’ while there was no formal plan to bring coaches through the ranks.
“At the moment we are in trouble, we have Franco Smith and Johan Ackermann, who else?” he asked.
The new ASICS-designed and manufactured Springbok jersey for the Rugby World Cup was launched at a glittering event in Cape Town on Thursday, with the 100 day mark to the start of the global showpiece fast approaching.
The launch of the iconic jersey is the culmination of months of hard work by scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan, in collaboration with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Pat Lambie took part in an extensive testing programme in Japan to fine tune the final product. They were accompanied by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and other members of the management team.
The main aims in the design of the Springboks’ apparel were to reduce weight without compromising on strength. The jersey for the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the lightest ever worn by South Africa, at 70 grams lighter than any previous jersey.
It also has smooth surface making it harder than ever before to keep hold of in the tackle, while an area which has seen significant development after player insight is the Super-Grip silicone which features on the chest of the jersey.
Duane Vermeulen’s reported move to France appears all the more likely after the Springbok and Stormers No 8 rejected a contract offer from the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Vermeulen would have been the highest earning Springbok had he accepted SARU’s offer.
His decision to reject the offer from SARU adds fire to reports earlier this year that linked him with a move to French club Toulon.
Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union, has applauded the life bans handed down to 3 players of the Fort Beaufort Barbarians Club for physically assaulting a referee.
The trio – Edmund Gunn, Clayton Bantom and Hyron Burgess – were found guilty of assaulting referee Llewellyn Loots at a pre-season tournament in the Eastern Cape town of Bedford on 28 February.
They were sentenced by an Eastern Province Rugby Union disciplinary committee.
The Fort Beaufort Barbarians Club was also suspended from all rugby activities for the rest of the year by the committee.
They were found guilty of bringing the Eastern Province Rugby Union into disrepute by failing to ensure the safety of the match official and by not assisting the union in identifying other players believed to have been a party to the assault.
It has emerged that a contractual dispute with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is the reason behind Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe making himself unavailable for Springbok selection.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer earlier this week said Van der Merwe was “unavailable for international rugby at the moment”.
The reasons behind Van der Merwe’s unavailability were described as “personal”.
However, Van der Merwe and SARU are at loggerheads because the player feels he was done an injustice when Springbok contacts were awarded.
Unlike lock partners Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield and Pieter-Steph du Toit, Van der Merwe apparently did not receive a similar national contract.