South African Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins has issued a warning to New Zealand and Australia that they will not allow themselves to be bullied in the SANZAR alliance anymore.
Rugby 365 reports that Hoskins confirmed that there had been a change in stance in South Africa’s role in the SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) alliance after he took over the seat at the Southern Hemisphere organization from ousted SA Rugby Board chairman Mpumelelo Tshume last weekend.
Hoskins raised eyebrows last week by publicly declaring opposition to New Zealand and Australia’s plans to play the same Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) in the Super 14 as had been played in 2008, as opposed to the global ELVs currently being tested across the world.
With the British and Irish Lions tour next year, Hoskins was worried about using two sets of laws and the effect that it would have on the world champions preparation for the three Test series.
Now Hoskins has admitted that there is a new South African line in the SANZAR relationship, and that the country will no longer be a silent party to several Southern Hemisphere decisions pushed by either Australia or New Zealand.
“We’re tired of being the third party in the marriage,” Hoskins told Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag.
“We may have treated SANZAR with kid gloves in the past and tried to placate everyone with the decisions, but it is time that we show we are not happy with what is going on.”
Hoskins recently took over the South African seat after SA Rugby’s Board chairman Mpumelelo Tshume – who previously represented the country at the meetings – was removed from his position.
“I think in a way we tried to keep unity in SANZAR at times and it cost us,” Hoskins told Sondag.
“We wont be doing that anymore. We are World Champions, and we have the third biggest television market for rugby in the world after England and France. We sit in a favourable time zone for European television services and we have a lot in out favour.
“Our players and officials have been complaining for long enough about the cards they have been dealt and how certain things in our competitions seem to always be biased against them and I believe it is time that this gets the attention it deserves.”
Hoskins comments can be seen as a veiled threat to the SANZAR alliance, especially with the Newscorp television contract coming to an end in 2010 and there already being talk of possible competitions with the Six Nations countries.
But Hoskins made it clear that he wasn’t talking about leaving SANZAR.
“Our aim is still to play against the strongest teams in the strongest competitions, but we wont allow ourselves to be bullied into decisions anymore.”
Hoskins is likely to be in stark opposition to Australian rugby boss John O’Neill, who has unofficially taken up the title of SANZAR spokesperson for several years now.Tweet