Sulking South Africans stand no chance of adding to Super quota


It’s February, the Super Rugby season is about to start, and – shock, horror – the South African provinces are having an almighty whinge.

Greg Growden

February 14, 2012

So, what’s new? One year, they are complaining that the tournament scheduling is unfair because, they argue, it favours the Australian and New Zealand teams. The next, they are moaning about wanting to head to Europe because they play in the same time zone.

Now they are complaining they don’t have enough teams in the tournament – and that if the tournament is not expanded from a Super 15 to Super 16, they will boycott the event.

Forget about it. It’s not going to happen. It is just the latest in a long line of the type of political bluster of which South African rugby officials are the masters. The Super Rugby ranks were all a tizz yesterday when a South African newspaper claimed the five local teams had threatened to boycott next year’s tournament if any of them were excluded at the expense of the Southern Kings.

The Rapport newspaper said the Stormers, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Sharks had sent a letter detailing their demands to the South African Rugby Union, including that none of them would be eliminated from the tournament next year, when the Kings are added to the Super Rugby ranks. The Kings hail from the Eastern Cape, the South African province that boasts the most black players.

The concern of the South African Super Rugby teams is that unless there are six South African teams in next year’s tournament, which will mean expanding to a 16-team competition, one of them will have to be cut to make way for the Kings.

The two provinces most under threat hail from the highveld – the Lions and the Cheetahs. Adding to the pressure is that the South African authorities have already said a merger of those two is not on the table.

Instead, a relegation system has been proposed, causing concern among all the South African provinces. So the boycott threat is all about survival and putting pressure on the local authorities not to give the Kings an easy leg-up.

Not surprisingly, South African officials yesterday tried to play down the boycott threat, but did acknowledge there was friction among the five existing Super Rugby teams over the Kings’ inclusion. To try to keep all their constituents happy, the SARU will continue lobbying their Australian and New Zealand partners to get an extra team. But they have no hope of success.

As Australian Rugby Union chief executive and SANZAR board member John O’Neill told the Herald last week: ”We’re in the second year of a five-year deal where we sold to the broadcasters a 15-team competition. Changing that midstream is not really on.”

The Super 15 will remain the Super 15 until at least 2016 – and one South African province will have to go to allow the Kings to come in. End of story.

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  1. I’m surprised he doesn’t bring-up more of the political aspect of the problem… but I suppose it’s of zero concern to other outside of RSA… it’s their problem!

  2. He also doesn’t bring up the fact that the team is simply not good enough to be in Super Rugby… matter how many Sterling Mortlock’s, Matt Giteau’s and Carlos Spencer’s are ‘bought’ to play for them. At least the Cheetahs and Lions occasionally win some games.

  3. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 7:35 am: Problem is the players they will be drawing will not be the colour needed to fulfil the promise of a black team. All bullshit as we know. There will maybe be one or two more blacks but it’s never been about transformation … it’s always about money. Certain people feel that their political connections entitle them to a portion of Murdoch’s money. They will never rest until they get their share. Where will they buy players good enough to do any better than the Lions and Cheetahs? If they get all the players from a team kicked out of the competition how are those players going to be so much better in a Kings jersey? AS I said, they would be completely the wrong colour anyway.

    This is about money. This about a better car and a better house and more trips overseas. This is about the prestige that comes with it.

    What I find disturbing is that certain individuals actions in this matter go against what they claim to believe and promote. Those who live for controversy – always stirring trouble – are not the peacemakers they are supposed to be according to their own beliefs. Sad.

  4. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 7:35 am:

    Then it’ll never be a happy team – players flying down from Joeys or Bloem for the game or practice and then back home at the end of the game. It didn’t work with the Cats. It’ll only be about the salary and not career, hence the comment about Spencer and Co.

  5. Question … how much is Luke earning at the Kings, and how much do the black players earn? Or is he playing for love and charity at the Kings, livings off his dad’s salary?

    I ask this because the Lions were attacked in the City Press newspaper for paying Jantjies (a 20 year old) much less that they pay James, a WC winning Bok veteran purchased from the very same team Luke Watson came from. Did Luke sign for peanuts whilst Butch signed for millions?

    The answer to this will be revealing.

  6. Ahhh imagine the day SANZOO kick South Africa out, aah we can only dream.

    This comp and relationship is shit. Its time to re-draw and start again.

    Funny that for once we have unity by S15 teams not against SANZOO but against another saffa team.

  7. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 9:42 am:


    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 9:55 am:

    How about 70% of revenue comes from South Africa

    There how is that for an STFU answer…

    Compared to THAT the 30% generated by the pissy little island and the ARL and Aussie Rules country is f**kall

    How about

    He who gives the money makes the rules….

    Kind of like America 1990 – 2010 what we say goes and I for one LOVE that SARU is flexing the financial muscle…

    After all the Aus leg of S15 is sponsored by Investec, head office corner Grayston and Rivonia Road, Sandton Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA whose founder and CEO is a Jewish dude from the East Rand…

    Thanks for playing Australia…

    Next time bring money… and leave fat mouth John ‘O Neill behind… the days of Softcock Marinos looking good and getting steam rollered by your big mouths are OVER… it’s time SARU did to SANZAR what India did to the ICC.

    And as for “growth”

    Ja well it’s like China and India… one day they will be powerful enough to challenge the USA…. one day…. but for now…

  8. If the Bulls buy out the Lions and consolidate the teams in Gauteng no other unoin in SA would stand a chance.

    The current coaching staff could join up , with Mitch taking Meyers old post. This should solve the Bulls coaching woes and Meyer can then get the guys he wants for national coaching team.

    This also resolves the S15 issue …

    Bulls management to stay and Lions management to be retrenced of course.

  9. Reply to RUGGA_MIND @ 10:51 am:

    And take on R90 mill debt together with control and management of EPS complex? This includes Standard Bank, the Athletic track, parking bays and the office park.

    Given that Loftus belongs to Tshwanetoria Council (which wants the Bulls to give up the Baberton Daisy and blue for white black green and gold) as well as Tukkies would it make sense then for the Bulls to stay in Pretoria? Also what happens to MTN’s massive spend (as the Bulls’s sponsor is Vodacom)as well as that of Redefine (Bulls have Oasis in the same financial services class) and 94.7 (Bulls have Jacaranda)

    Labour laws say NO employee of a taken over company may be retrenched as a result of the takeover for twelve months after the takeover or it is an automatic unfair dismissal so they’d have to keep on Lions management for twelve months minimum and then only retrench them which would cost a packet (one week for every completed year and guys like Mac Hendriks have been there for YEARS)

    Fourth is that the five unions have already signed a declaration saying they will not accept the relegation of any of them from S15.

    Fifth… given that the Bulls did not even make the CC and S15 play-off rounds in 2011 whilst the Lions similarly missed the play off in S15 but won the CC (beating the Bulls on the way there) and beating Bok laden Natal and WP teams on the way would it be fair to ask the Bulls to buy the Lions.

    Sixth, the Bulls owe SARU a massive amount of money and the Lions owe SARU nothing… so would it be in the Lions’ management interest to burden the new union with SARU debt they do not have? Not likely…

    Too many variables

    Not likely… in fact… impossible

  10. Reply to RUGGA_MIND @ 10:51 am: I’ve been contemplating and promoting a Bulls Lions amalgamation before but there are way too many obstacles. The S15 franchises are not the same as the rugby unions … two separate legal entities. The Bulls cannot buy the Lions S15 franchise. That two huge cellphone rivals sponsor each team isn’t helping either. No way will MTN stand back to allow Vodacom to walk away with the thing. Where to play? Branding? etc etc. What then happens in the CB (where the Lions are the champs)?

    The Lions as a union is very strong and healthy. Look at their results overall at all levels in 2011. The won several trophies. SARU can’t kill such a strong union with all its structures.

  11. Reply to DavidS @ 10:31 am:

    No David… quite simply what percentage of the 60 odd % of the RSA viewing stats given… is down to RSA punters watching their own provincial sides playing the NZAR teams at home then away and particularly heading into play-off rounds… a huge portion I’d hazard a guess…

    That simply doesn’t translate when thinking of a national alternative… as an aside is the CC even a solely subscription television based game?

  12. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 11:21 am:

    Smoke and mirrors bryce.

    Immaterial, given that this means SA “punters” are the primary viewers of rugby in the southern hemisphere.

    62% is a massive massive massive contribution to viewership stats for Murdoch’s television deal.

    That would be all advertisers are interested in and it also explains why advertising during 3N and S15 in SA is the most expensive advertising slots in South African television.

    Advertisers thus reach the most people if the advertise in South Africa which translates to bigger revenue and why South African companies are sponsoring advertising boards in Australia and New Zealand because of the high number of South African viewers they KNOW are watching despite small numbers of spectators in Australia and New Zealand…

    Can you not see how comlex this course is in terms of danger for Austrralia now that SARU is calling SANZAR’s bluff.

  13. Reply to Ollie @ 12:07 pm:

    62% viewership and 70% revenue.

    So to answer you Ollie

    No 62% viewership is not 62% revenue.

    Read the other article we posted.

    And you can look at things like actual spend on teams. In South Africa the average S15 team gets about ZAR25 million per year from SARU and in Aus the average team gets AUD1-2m per year from their rugby union. Even if you account for the AUD exchange rate the revenue and cash spent on rugby in SA is higher than in Aus and NZ combined. So is the cash generated.

    Our sponsors can generate MASSES more cash than those in NZ for example. Just one example. ABSA has 8 million clients. That is double the population of NZ… it is under10% of the present population of South Africa. ABSA is the official banking group behind S15, CC and the Boks in SA. In Aus they have to rely on Canberra University, Virgin Mobile and Emirates Air for sponsors because all the big cash is spent in cricket, Aussie Rules and League.

    As I said some of the richest advertising space in the southern hemisphere (rivalled only by South American soccer and OTHER Australian sports) is Springbok rugby match advertising costs. It makes sense that if the viewership is higher that the spend on advertising in the rugby slots and the consequent cost of those slots and revenue generated is higher.

    The same would go for gate takings.

    Simple math tells you that when MORE people attend the rugby they spend MORE money. And comparably our ticket prices are the same. In SA they are more expensive because the unions can afford to make them so.

  14. Reply to DavidS @ 2:58 pm:

    Jeez but you can talk a load of cods-wallop when you want to… Canberra Uni a reliance sponsor for Australian Rugby… bah… heck the Rebels alone have the biggest Agri-fin backed Bank in the world as their main sponsor along with the likes of Michelin to name just two of the many big names…

    Wallabies have had the national airline Qantas behind them for yonks now along with Panasonic, Blackberry, KooGaa, Tooheys (one of the biggest breweries in the land) and so on and so on and so on…

    Not worth continuing this anyways…

    Some awesome UFC fight happening on Fuel tomorrow night… be sure to check mmatko for the Sanchez/Ellenberger for starters… will let you know which others were worth watching…

  15. Did you see the EFC Africa fight card?

    Some fights are foregone outcomes but there are going to be some crackerjack ones!

    Gareth MaClellan and Jeremy Smith is true technique vs brawn fight…

    Robinson v Maphuta is a foregone outcome… Robinson is gonna kill him… combine East Rand street fighter atitude with an outstanding MMA trainer and a physique of 104 kilos of pure muscle and you understand why the dude is called monster.

    Opperman v Baggatin is just as nice a fight to look forward too. Dino is crowd fave but I like Opperman.

    Kietzman v Misholas is also a foregone conclusion. Kietzman is a killer with training… hardcore dude rising from middle to heavyweight… Misholas is a stepping stone to get to Potts or Hattingh. Mind you when Rico recovers from his injury it’s gonna be kak and hare with Potts.

    Josh Jedi Muller and Wade Goat Henderson is gonna be a cracker… Muller The Jedi is young and incessantly arrogant and disdainful of BJJ (Israeli trainer) whilst Wade is a BJJ man. Last EFC Josh wore a white belt to the ring in BJJ uniform and dissed BJJ… wade says its a personal crusade to sort him out on behalf of all BJJ adherents. Gonna be a HECTIC match seeing as neither really has a KO punc and prefer to win on points.

    Francois Groenewald and Dino Bertolis… two outstanding BJJ guys. Both young and both starting heir careers. They fought as amateurs and Francois won… going to be a cracker but Francois fights for Team Mayhem which s my client so I have a dog in the fight.

    Same with MaClellan and Smith. Solderboy fights out of FFM where I train Krav… so obviously we support him.


    I know about the Sanchez/Ellenburger fight… going to be a cracker…. to paraphrase Richie Benaud.

  16. Reply to DavidS @ 4:02 pm:

    Yes indeed… will most definitely trawl for footage… there’s plenty of past fights so shouldn’t be too difficult… might even ask Bruno from TKO to put them up…

    Did you know that Jonas Savimbi’s grandson (Wolf Pena) is an EFC fighter?

  17. BUT

    Dude Canberra is the only one they can find to sponsor for the Brumbies… and that is AFTER the Chinese telecom Huawei pulled the plug.

    Same with Force… Quantas can’t sponsor them and neither can a local airline so they get Emirates… not cool

    Virgin Mobile is ALSO an international for the Reds

    Just shows you where Aussie money is coming from…

    Oh and Investec is not advertising in SA rugby for the simple reason that ABSA has had that angle tied up literally since the 80’s… from CC to VC to Boks… and you can be sure they would have an exclusivity deal.

    The thing is not that Investec get better exposure overseas… the point is that given the present sponsorships in SA from competitors, and more particularly ABSA, they cannot get in to get a slice of the pie in SA so they are forced to flee overseas to look for the kind of exposure ABSA gets here.

    Immaterial whether Investec Global makes more cash than their local operation. FACT is it is a South African operation… and compared to the Big Four local banks it’s small.

    You see what I mean with electronic companies

    Aussies = Panasonic

    Bokke = Samsung

    Bokke win

    Cell phones

    Blackberry v iPhone


    Kooga nonames v Canterbury the most respected brand in rugby

    SAA v Quantas

    Ja okay


    BMW v Lexus (joking right)

    Vodacom (fone) v?

    Energade / Powerade (i.e. Coca Cola) v ?

    Acer v ?

    And then just to compare based simply on the website

    Quantas, Castrol, Lexus, Kooga, Panasonic, Tooheys* (owned by Mitsubishi), Vero, Lexus, Blackberry, Wide World of Sports

    So, ten


    SAB Miller (2nd largest brewer in the world), ABSA (i.e. Barclays), BMW, Acer, Apple, Canterbury, Samsung, Unilever, Coca Cola. Discovery, CIB, Virgin Active, Gilbert, Globeflight, BSN Medical (Leukoplast), Budget Insurance (Bidvest), Atlas buses, Southern Sun, SAA, Vodacom(fone).

    Can you see the magnitude of sponsorship in South Africa as opposed to the meager offering put on the table by Australian sponsors? It is very clear that advertisers follow the place where they get exposure… and international sponsors like SAB Miller, Braclays, Apple, Canterbury, Gilbert, Coca Cola, BMW are choosing the Bokke internationally… why is this?


    because the Bokke offer the best exposure to advertising revenue and television audiences.

    Remember that during that Fiji game last year that televised DELAY LIVE on SABC… had more viewers than the population of New Zealand!

    You simply cannot match that kind of clout and reach with union in Australia. THAT is primarily one of the reasons that, despite onfield success, the NZ franchises have in three months attracted f**kall offers for buying their teams…


    Call Sanchez.

  18. Reply to Timeo @ 3:05 pm:

    AFAIK they can only measure SETS TURNED ON

    These recording instruments are then spread
    amongst the viewing public. Like Markinor:
    they question 3000 based on demographics, and
    then get quite a correct representative figure.
    (USA also does this, e.g. presiddent ratings etc.)

    They then multiply by 2.4 whatever to establish
    viewers – on the premise that they were all
    watching and not gardening.
    Something like that.

    Will check, maybe it’s changed, but I doubt it.

  19. Hahahahah

    Ek werk tans met ‘n versekeraar se aktuarisse.

    Volgens hulle benodig mens ‘n minimum van 300 mense om ‘n aanvaarbare gevolgtrekking te maak uit ‘n steekproef.

    So as die Markinor getalle op 3000 huishoiudings te staan is, dan is dit meer as genoeg om statistiek te trek en gevolgtrekkings te maak.

  20. Reply to DavidS @ 9:59 pm:

    Is jy seker?
    Ek is omtrent seker Markinor werk op ±3000.
    300 klink vir my bietjie klein, die bietjie
    wat ek van stats weet.
    Maar jy is seker reg.
    Ek weet daar is ‘n afsnypunt waar groter
    getalle geen verskil aan die uitslag maak

    Vra bietjie vir daai mense:
    Ek verstaan daar is iets rondom die syfer
    12% – 12% van enige bevolking is a-tipies.
    M.a.w. as 12% of minder kla, kan die syfer
    geïgnoreer word.
    Is dit so, en is daar ‘n term hiervoor?

    Ek het ‘n idee TV-peilings is heelwat groter
    as 300 of 3000.