You are normally taught not to engage in writing about topics when it is still too raw or too emotional, but for the hell of me I cannot fathom SA Rugby’s decision by booting the Lions out of Super Rugby in favour of the Kings.
This topic has been abused more than concert goers at a Phil Collins live show, but let me state a couple of things categorically.
As much as the Lions do not deserve a place in Super Rugby given their performances over the last couple of years, neither does the Kings on the principle of what was decided today.
Yes I have heard all the arguments of what a competition like Super Rugby will bring to the area (Eastern Cape) given all the clubs and rugby schools they have, in fact, I constructed most of those arguments – but to think a one-year deal in Super Rugby is going to change that is not only short-sighted, it is irresponsible bordering on criminal!
Given that this circus has been ongoing since 2005, I also believe it bloody high time we find a resolution to this problem, but this decision, and mark my words on this, is worse for the Kings and rugby in the Eastern Cape than the time they got shafted out of a Super Rugby guarantee in 2006/2007.
For the record (dear administrators in SA Rugby), the people of the Eastern Cape has been begging and fighting for a rugby solution since 2005 which would put them on equal footing with all the other rugby regions, not some amateurish, political and pathetic hand-out which will not only see them be the laughing stock in Super Rugby next year, but also back to square one in the South African rugby wilderness at the conclusion of the tournament after they get relegated – and they will get relegated.
For months we heard how the Kings, if given the opportunity, will lure top quality rugby players to the region to boost their ranks and be competitive. Pardon my ignorance but what rugby player will leave a lucrative contract abroad (or even at any other participating Super Rugby franchise locally) for a one-year deal at the Kings? Just in what province of La-la land do you reside in?
If anything, the Kings would do damn well to sign the now relegated Lions’ top performing players if they are not offered longer, more lucrative, and therefore more secure deals at other franchises like the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers or even Cheetahs. At best the Kings will sign fringe players from those franchises (read journeymen) who struggle to make the top side or 32-man squads.
Super Rugby history also suggest that any new franchise starting out can at best hope for a 20% return on victories in the toughest rugby competition in the world in their first year (Force won 1 game in their first year and Rebels 3 out of 16 played) – how the Kings plan to defy this trend is a mystery.
So my question is quite simply this; ‘What is the f$#king point of this decision?’
No seriously, what is the point.
We now sit with a union that has been utter shit for almost a decade now in the Lions who will no doubt become even worse now given they are booted. Not only that, they are replaced by a team who only has a 1-year guarantee in the world’s toughest competition with less than 3 months to sign ‘superstars’ (by offering a no-guarantee 1-year deal) to give them any hope in hell before pre-season for the competition starts. I don’t care how good a coach you are, you stand no chance.
If any Kings supporters or supporters of rugby in the Eastern Cape sees this decision as a victory for rugby for the region please highlight the obvious facts supporting this which I am missing, because I am desperate to find them.
This decision has only one outcome, a Kings outfit will find themselves back at square one following the tournament in 2013 after being relegated by an equally poor Lions outfit who would not have been able to improve one iota given their relegation today. In short, SA Rugby will not move forward from this circus starting in 2005 one inch – because this is not a solution, it’s a cop-out.
Where we wanted a victory for rugby, we are again served a dish of bullshit where the game of rugby in SA loses.