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Thursday, February 02, 2006


Super 14: Spears - Will they or wont they

The "big" 5 Super 14 franchises are not taking the relegation issue lying down.

Thursday's meeting between the Super 14 franchises at SA Rugby offices at Newlands was set to ignite in confrontation with all five of the country's Super 14 franchises determined to veto the automatic inclusion of the Southern Spears into next year's tournament.

This follows a decision taken by the President's Council in 2005 that from 2007, the new Southern Cape rugby franchise, an amalgamation of SWD, Eastern Province and Border, will be guaranteed participation in the Super 14 for two years while the bottom-placed South African side is relegated.

This means that whichever South African team - the Stormers, Bulls, Cats, Sharks or Cheetahs - that is eliminated after this year's tournament will face disastrous financial and commercial consequences.

However, after the Spears suffered a string of humiliating defeats in the pre-season friendlies against the Super 14 incumbents, the five South African teams who are participating in this year's competition have all decided to oppose the relegation-promotion format that was decided by the President's Council.

Southern Spears chief executive Tony McKeever will arrive at the South African Rugby Union's (Saru) offices on Thursday with an independent attorney to discuss the issue with the five other franchises. On Wednesday he was confident that the decision would be ratified in writing on Thursday.

But by Wednesday night it became clear that the "Big Five" who will play in this year's competition had decided to veto the President's Council decision and that they would refuse to sign the document on Thursday.

The battle lines have thus been drawn with top officials of the "Big Five" all confirming to the Cape Argus that their stance on the fifth South African Super 14 team had changed. They said they would even be prepared to go to court to fight SA Rugby.

"It's ridiculous that the Spears, who are clearly not yet even ready to be competitive in the Currie Cup, can just walk into next year's Super 14 at the expense of one of the other sides," said one top rugby official, on condition of anonymity.

"Besides the fact that they are poaching our Under-21s when they pledged to develop local talent from the Southern Cape region. In their friendlies they played few black players from their own areas."

Another top rugby administrator described the decision to give the Spears Super 14 status as both "premature and ridiculous".

"Nowhere in sport would you find a team punching so far above their weight. Before they are even considered for the Super 14, they should prove that they can be competitive in the Currie Cup. We could end up with a situation where the Spears finish sixth or seventh in the Currie Cup but still get to play in the Super 14."

In addition, plans are on the table for the South African team that is relegated from this year's Super 14 to hand over eight of their players to the Spears for 2007.

The Spears are also eager to tap into surplus resources by having first bite at players who are contracted to financial heavyweights, such as the Bulls, who fall outside of Super 14 squads.

"That means that not only would one of us (the Big Five) have to make way for the Spears, but we would also have to hand over players whose salaries we pay and are on our books. There is no way we can accept this."

McKeever was stunned when told of developments and vowed to fight the major franchises on Thursday.

"I cannot believe what I am hearing. Their presidents agreed to this and they are not in a position to renege on the decision taken by the President's Council.

"It is nauseating for them to say we are poaching players. They have been taking ours for years and alienating themselves as real dinosaurs for the good of South African rugby.

"This document that has been tabled for (today) was agreed in principle and they cannot now just turn around and sing a different tune. We have already assembled a squad, we went out and found a R15m sponsor (sports clothing firm ISC) and we have set up a PE base.

"It's now up to SA Rugby to have the balls to stand up to these dinosaurs and for (SA Rugby President) Brian van Rooyen to put his foot down," said McKeever.

Next year, with the Spears guaranteed immunity from relegation under the original decision, they could effectively finish last in the tournament but still play in the tournament in 2008 while a South African side that could technically finish fourth and make the semifinals, was eliminated.

Things like this makes me hope that th five teams ends 9 to 14 this year.

Some of them has been bottom feeders so many times in the S12, they should be glad SANZAR let them play.

Go Spears first get the CC and then the S14. That is the only way you are going to silence the assholes
Shit the Blues hammered the Force 43-5 and do you hear every Australian shouting that they are not worthy.

If it weren't for Marius Jonker the Spears could have had a chance at the Stormers. The socalled snotting is a farce.
This was to be expected. All five unions are nervous, all five of them know they stand to lose a shitload of money if they get relegated. They make some good points, but it is also bad cos they have allready agreed to these terms. It's difficult to side with anyone on this. I don't want to say a bigger (and possibly better prepared) franschise should lose out, but I also don't want the Spears to lose out after all the hard work they've put in. Anyway, I'm off now, see you guys at brannasnacht. Cos I need one!  
Holy shit!!!!

Give 'em hell Tony!!!!!

Need a lawyer!

I'll volunteer my services for free. Just fly me down to CT!!!

I can't believe this.

These poor kids haven't even been given a chance in the bladdy Currie Cup yet!!!!!!

How about those bladdy dinosaurs giving people like Pedrie Wannenberg, Rassie Erasmus and Kabamba Floors back and we then see how far they get in CC!!!!!


This is not on.
I think that bastards who break promises and go back on their word should be made to suffer.

Dammit man.

Not on.
the comment "they have to prove themselves at CC level first" is a bit rich aint it?

there were 2 teams that proved themselves in teh CC, bulls and cheetahs, the others were piss poor.

WP even lost to lowly boland!

natal was lucky to escape with a victory against griquas as was the lions.

the bloody leopards gave the lions a run for their money.

i wonder how they have proved themselves in the CC?
These guys are whimps.

Come on Michael, willie, Carel du Plessis, Garth Wright, Danie Gerber, etc.

Put your weight behind the area that gave you so much.

they all agreed to it in principle because they all wanted nice little test fixtures from 'brian the circus lion' - now that his departure is inevitable they sing a different tune, they got their nice test to make a couple of million.  
Then it is official. I will support the Spears in the CC. Screw these guys.  
Ja scared of losing.

This should inspire them.

Anyone else see the Bulls, WP and Cheetahs have joined the Lions in saying publicly they don't support BVR either!!!!

BVR better have all his wits about him to stop this mess from going to court.
Me too donner.

I hope they win the damned thing too!!!!!

Not forgetting that the ref saved the Bulls against Boland!

And then they tried to buy a talented Boland player because he did so well against them.

They've had years to build up nice little squads with year after year of big cash spending and having the pick of the best p[layers about.

Now they're pissed because the Spears can't beat them after just a few months of existence.

BTW, the Cats can hardly call themselves in that group. It's not as though they marched all over the Spears!

Dammit Dammit Dammit

Where've you been hiding GLC?
My Son! My son!

Why do you deny me!

I miss you!
WTF is going on here....  
You tell me PJLD

The Big boys are scared they get beaten up by the bullies at the other school so they're picking on the little boy in their school hoping this makes them feel better before they get to have a klap from the other school's boys.
Ja,it is a blatant flipping bully attitude,jeez,its disgusting man  
The top four for this years CC.

Spears, Griquas, Boland, SWD.

The "big" ARSES won't have their Springboks to bank on and the smaller unions will take so much confidence from that, they will whip their big arses.

Along with Pieter de Villiers' philosophy, the CC win will make the Spears unbeatable. No SA team will beat them.
gus you fuckup - go talk to jorrie and tell him his father davids is ready to talk to him with the view of accepting him as his love child with karen zoid those years when things were but a mere daze in his life  
My son! My son!

Your words slip through my heart like a Jean De Villiers pass through my fingers with an open tryline beckoning!

How can you deny me like my fingers that betray me and fumble a perfect pass with an open tryline!
When was the last time the so-called big teams had all their Bok stars taken out. It was 1998 wasn't it?

That was when Griquas and SWD reached the semis wasn't it?

Dammit go get them Tony!


ok i am off till later
Ja the Bulls without their Boks and WP without theirs and the Lions wthout theirs are no more than avergae.

I hope the Spears KLAP them!
Do I have a father??? Wonderful.

Is my pappa hier?
Nice try PA  

All is clear now.

Big 5 vote for BvR (although Andy Turner said otherwise - that was the day before yesterday, remember!) and he wont go for the relegation system. Easy hey! Actually, he will then overturn the decision made last year. Big 5 wants to survive so does BvR.

Our whole rugby system is rotten to the core. Watch this space!
This actually illustrates the problem with SA Rugby administration. The Presidents Council, comprising all 14 union presidents, took a decision, which was actually an about turn after the original scoring of all 6 bids.

BUT the decision cannot be ratified without the consent of the franchises. They effectively have a veto, and are refusing to rubber stamp the decision.

Christmas for Lawyers.
If they decide that the Spears can't play, let the Spears' lawyers do their thing off the field and the players do their on the field. Come on Spears, shut them up one and for all. Come end of the season, we'll see who has the last laugh.

If it turns out there is nothing we can do about it, maybe Tony McKeever should start his own tournament and include teams like Argentina, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Japan, Namibia, Kenya, Canada, USA and the rest of Europe. You know, all the teams who suckle from the back teets of world rugby. Have a truly global tournament and tell the S14 bosses to kiss his ass when it becomes bigger than the S14.
firefly have you been smoking your socks?  
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