EP rugby rescue plan not a done deal

(Picture: News24)
(Picture: News24)

Port Elizabeth - A R20 million package from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to rescue the beleaguered Eastern Province Rugby will have to be reviewed, DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip said on Saturday.

Eastern Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd, which managed the professional arm of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, including the Eastern Province Kings, was liquidated unopposed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.

Shortly after the liquidation, SA Rugby said the EP Kings would remain in the Nashua Currie Cup premier division, following the announcement of a R20m support package from the municipality.

A total of R6m had already been approved, with the municipality’s council expected to ratify the remaining amount soon, SA Rugby said in a statement.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux thanked mayor Danny Jordaan for his willingness to help the beleaguered union.

Timing questioned

Trollip questioned the timing of the announcement.

“How can the outgoing mayor be making decisions and deals on the quiet with people, when council hasn’t even endorsed it?” he told reporters.

“Obviously this was very premature and irregular and we will have to re-look at it.”

Trollip said it was important that Nelson Mandela Bay retain a professional rugby team.

“I believe that we need a rugby team in the Eastern Province. Eastern Province is renowned for rugby, it’s just been in the doldrums for so long because it has been mal-administered.

“People like Cheeky Watson have destroyed EP Rugby and he was a member of the ANC, and he did that under the ANC’s watch,” he said. 

Watson is president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union.

“We want to bring back proper sports administration, and if we can do that, we can support them,” Trollip said. 

Nelson Mandela Bay was the perfect city to become the sporting capital of South Africa, already hosting international events such as the Ironman triathlon, he said.


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