Saru finally votes Lions out of Super 15
IT IS official: the Lions are out of Super rugby next year.
After nearly seven months, the only possible outcome of a saga that dragged on for 208 days longer than it needed to was reached.
Yesterday the SA Rugby Union general council voted 23-6 in favour of the bottom team in the 2012 Super rugby tournament being relegated to make way for the Southern Kings next year.
The Lions are that team.
It is the same proposal that was tabled at a council meeting on January 27 as the second part of a two-pronged vote. The first portion of the vote asked for support or rejection of the Kings' inclusion in Super rugby in 2013 and it went unanimously in favour of the Eastern Cape team joining.
But provincial bosses, led by the five existing teams, refused to vote on the second proposal that stated: "The franchise occupying the lowest log position of the five franchises at the end of 2012 would be relegated.
"The franchises for 2013 have been allocated. We exhausted all avenues and tried our best to accommodate everyone, but unfortunately the Lions had to fall out," said Saru CEO Jurie Roux.
There are legitimate concerns about the Kings' ability to cope in the competition, as they have no marquee players and little financial muscle. However, Kings CEO Cheeky Watson says he will continue to fight to see that the Kings are entrenched for three years, instead of one, but that is a battle for another day.