Kings’ inclusion leaves South African teams facing uncertain future
One of South Africa’s existing teams in the Super Rugby competition face the axe after the Southern Kings secured a place in the tournament from 2013, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) said on Friday.
The inclusion of Kings, who hail from Eastern Cape — the hotbed of black rugby, has left the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, Cheetahs and Lions facing an uncertain future.
One of the five teams will be out of the lucrative tournament unless Saru can convince Sanzar (South Africa-New Zealand-Australia rugby) to allow a sixth South African team to play in the competition.
“The Kings’ place in the Super Rugby competition in 2013 was confirmed by the general council, who gave it 100% support,” Saru chief executive Jurie Roux told a news conference on Friday.
“A final decision on the fate of the other five franchises will be made at a special general meeting on March 30 after the council has considered recommendations by the unions. There are a number of options, including asking Sanzar to include a sixth South African team.”
The Southern Kings inclusion in Super Rugby has been backed by politicians and those unhappy with the pace of transformation in South African rugby.
None of their constituent teams — Eastern Province, South-Western Districts and Border — play in the premier division of South Africa’s domestic Currie Cup competition.
Eastern Province were beaten 43-12 by Boland in last year’s First Division final.