SARU dismisses speculation over Southern Kings
Wed, 18 Jul 2012 11:25a.m.
Reports that the Southern Kings were offered money to postpone their inclusion in the Super 15 and allow South Africa time to bargain for an extra place were dismissed as speculation by the South African Rugby Union.
SARU rescheduled the meeting of its general council postponed last Friday to Aug. 16, and said on Tuesday no decision had been made on if the Kings would replace the Johannesburg-based Lions, who finished bottom of the Super 15 this season.
The Kings also denied on their Twitter page that they had agreed to wait until 2016.
South Africa has six teams and still only five places available next season after granting the Port Elizabeth-based Kings Super 15 status.
Organizer SANZAR refused to expand the tournament.
It had appeared likely that the Lions would be the first team relegated from Super rugby to make way, although a weekend report in South Africa said the Kings agreed to take 40 million rand ($4.8 million) to wait until the 2016 season - when SANZAR's current broadcasting agreements are up for renewal and the tournament makeup can be reconsidered.
SARU said it would discuss South Africa's participants in the 2013 competition at the Aug. 16 meeting in Cape Town having initially guaranteed its five current Super 15 teams that none of their positions would be "compromised" by the inclusion of the Kings.
That is not likely to be possible now, leaving SARU open to fierce criticism if the Lions are relegated despite those reassurances.
SARU insisted on Tuesday that the decision on the South African teams for next year would be made by the general council, which consists of two members from each of the 14 provincial unions. Each member has a vote, as does SARU President Oregan Hoskins.
"This is clearly an important issue of wide interest," SARU chief executive Jurie Roux said. "But the decision rests with the general council and until they have made that decision it serves no purpose to become involved in speculation on any scenarios."
The Kings also denied they'd given up their Super 15 status until 2016 in exchange for money and a place in South Africa's Currie Cup. The Kings are currently in the second division.
"The story going around we've taken money to stay out of Super Rugby in 2013 is NOT TRUE !" the Kings tweeted. "We will be playing Super Rugby in 2013."
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