Now that the ‘perceived hurdle’ to the Southern Kings being part of Super Rugby (The management contract for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium by Access Management has been signed) speculation continues as to whether the Southern Kings will still be part of Super Rugby in 2013. To counter the speculation and in an attempt to once again level the playing field SARU have officially stated the following:
- The identity of the South African teams participating in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition is governed by the constitution of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
- Clause 9.2.5 specifies that the General Meeting is responsible for the “approval of the format, structure and composition of SARU’s
- Major Competition, currently known as the Absa Currie Cup or its successor, as well as determining the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby competitions.”
- The voting membership of the General Meeting is made up of two representatives of the 14 provinces – each of whom has one vote (28) – and the chairman of the meeting (who is the President of the South African Rugby Union or his deputy) making a total of 29 votes.
- A simple majority is required to pass motions in relation to this clause.
- The next scheduled General Meeting of SARU is Friday, July 13 in Cape Town.
Recapping the events in 2012:
27 January 2012:
- A Special General Meeting was held to consider Vodacom Super Rugby participation (among other things).
- The SARU Executive Council (Exco) proposed that the top four teams in the South African conference at the end of the 2012 competition join the Southern Kings as the South African representatives in the 2013 competition.
- It was also proposed that the last-placed team in the South African Conference would play a promotion/relegation match against the non-Super Rugby franchise at the conclusion of the 2013 and 2014 competitions.
- The meeting reaffirmed the Kings’ participation in the 2013 tournament.
- The franchises requested that a decision on the mechanism of qualification was postponed to allow them time to make alternative proposals.
- The General Meeting accepted the request. Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, asked for it to be recorded that the delay in a decision was at the franchises’ request, therefore precluding them (unions) from criticism of delays in any decisions.
23 February 2012:
- Franchise representatives and members of the Exco met for a second time to discuss the way forward.
- It was decided that franchises representatives would accompany SARU’s SANZAR delegates (Roux and deputy president Mark Alexander) to meet SANZAR partners with proposals to encompass the inclusion of a sixth South African franchise. The group was scheduled to depart on March 17.
14 March 2012:
- A final preparation meeting was held between franchise representatives and SARU’s SANZAR delegates.
- The meeting requested SARU to write to Australia and New Zealand requesting a postponement in the visit in order to prepare additional expansion options.
- No date has been rescheduled.
SARU commented further; “Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings’ place in Vodacom Super Rugby in 2013,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO. “Our focus has been on finding a rugby answer to the questions that flow from that decision that’s fair, transparent in its mechanism and will strengthen South African rugby in the long run. Those discussions continue.
“Until a final decision is reached, the franchises and the SARU presidency are agreed that it would be unhelpful to the competing teams to publicly debate the pros and cons of different scenarios. When a decision is announced we will be able to report back to rugby supporters in full.”
On 17 May 2012 franchise representatives and members of Exco will meet in Johannesburg for further discussions. Franchise representatives can only make recommendations and do NOT constitute a decision-making body. Any recommendations will be taken to the next scheduled meeting of the SARU Exco on 24 May. Any decisions then made will be ratified on 13 July 2012 at the next scheduled meeting of the SARU General Council
Put plainly – at that time we will know which franchises will join the Southern Kings in the Super Rugby Tournament.