The Southern Kings’ participation in the Super Rugby tournament from 2013 onwards could again be under threat.
Die Burger newspaper reports that several rugby officials feel the Kings’ automatic inclusion in the 2013 tournament is not in the best interests of South African rugby.
This issue was brought up at a recent Presidents forum of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and could be discussed further in the first week of December.
The EP Kings’ inability to win the Currie Cup First Division this year and their apparent lack of transformation leave questions over their Super Rugby inclusion.
They even fielded two New Zealanders – Ross Kennedy and Clint Newland – in this year’s Currie Cup First Division, where they were hammered 43-12 by the Boland Cavaliers in the final.
EP’s loss in the “B”-section final means they are effectively the 10th best union in the country. Border and SWD – who are the Southern Kings’ other representatives – finished last and second last respectively in the First Division, which makes them the two weakest provincial teams in South Africa.
SANZAR announced earlier this year that an extension of the Super Rugby tournament is not open for discussion, which means the Kings would have to replace one of the current Super Rugby teams. This would be problematic for SARU if a team made up of the 10th, 13th and 14th best side’s in the country representsSouth Africain the Southern Hemisphere’s premier tournament.
South Africahas an obligation towards SANZAR to play its best teams in Super Rugby, which makes the Kings’ inclusion hard to justify.
A solution could be to give the Kings franchise the opportuniy to qualify for the tournament on merit. However, how that would happen is still unsure.
“The other team that is effected by the Kings’ inclusion also has to be looked after. The decision has to be in the best interests of South African rugby,” Die Burger was told.