Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker and Jean de Villiers have agreed to turn out for the Cavaliers in their forthcoming promotion/relegation matches against the Griffons in an effort to help the Bolanders protect their position in the Premier Division of the Absa Currie Cup competition.
Burger said that as his family’s wine farm, Welbedacht, was in Wellington he felt a close affinity with the Boland union and he had persuaded his two Springbok teammates to help the Cavaliers repel the challenge of the Griffons.
Bet that got your attention! It’s not true, of course, but it certainly is a scenario that has been made possible by the decision of SA Rugby’s judicial officer, Dekker Govender, not to penalize the Griffons, in particular, for “borrowing” players from the Cheetahs.
Dan Retief writes for SuperRugby that the SWD Eagles, the team most affected by the Griffons using the like of Hennie Daniller Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Hendrik Meyer, Jandre Blom and Ashley Johnson on loan from the Cheetahs, complained that this was against SARU’s regulations on eligibility in the hope that they, and not the Griffons would end up in second place on the log and thus be able to play in the First Division semi-finals and also challenge for promotion.
Govender was appointed to investigate the complaint and ruled that “although the players mentioned played for both provinces during 2008 season thus far, neither province participated in the same competition. The Cheetahs were at all material times participating in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division whereas the Griffons were playing in the Absa Currie Cup First Division.”
One would have thought that the element of promotion/relegation dictated that the two divisions were linked, thus making it the same competition, and the upshot must be that teams are now free to borrow players to either help them to gain promotion or stave off a challenge – especially from provinces who no longer have an interest in the competition.
The Leopards and the Griffons will meet in the First Division Final on Friday at Olen Park in Potchefstroom (kick-off 7.10pm, CSN/SuperSport 1) and then have to steel themselves for a double round of promotion/relegation matches against the bottom two teams in the Premier Division on October 18 and 24.
The table-topping Leopards will play against the Valke (who finished in eighth place on the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log), with the second-placed Griffons coming up against the Boland Cavaliers (seventh place).
It goes without saying that the advantages of playing in the Premier Division are immense – in terms of ticket sales and sponsorship – and the hiring of a few mercenaries to ensure or win this status would make a lot of sense.Tweet