Saru and franchises hold ‘positive’ talks over 2013

2012-05-22 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The South African Rugby Union (Saru) and its Super Rugby teams have agreed on “a number of options” to solve the dilemma of having six sides fighting for five places in next year’s competition.

Saru said that after a “positive meeting” here yesterday — the second meeting with its franchises in four days — the possible solutions would be considered by its executive committee.

A final decision on how South Africa structures its Super Rugby teams from next season would be made by Saru’s general council in July, the national body said.

Saru didn’t reveal what the options were.

The union is scrambling to avoid having to sacrifice one of its current Super Rugby outfits after it promised the new Southern Kings a place in 2013, only for organiser Sanzar to refuse to expand the tournament.

Options available to Saru are to relegate the lowest-placed South African team, currently the Johannesburg-based Lions, or get two teams to merge, with the Kings guaranteed their place next year.

“It was a very positive meeting and we now have a number of options for participation on which the franchises have agreed,” said Saru CEO Jurie Roux.

“Those options will go to the Exco for consideration and ultimately to the general council for a decision.”

The Lions and the Cheetahs are the likeliest candidates for a merger. The two have joined up before when they competed as the Cats in Super Rugby between 1998 and 2006.

Saru’s general council will make its decision with a vote.

The general council is made up of two representatives from each of South Africa’s 14 rugby provinces, each of whom has one vote.

The meeting chairperson, Saru’s president or deputy president, also has a vote. A majority is required to pass decisions.

The next meeting of the Saru general council is scheduled to take place on 13 July.

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