Sampie Pienaar seems to be the front-runner to take over as president of the Golden Lions Rugby Union after the resignation of both the president Jannie Ferreira, and deputy president Manie Reyneke, on Tuesday. Reyneke stays on as CEO of the union.
Pienaar, a long-standing member of the executive committee, is president of Alberton Rugby Club.
The resignations come after a club caucus meeting on Monday night where it was decided to request the resignation of the two senior office-bearers, ending a 25-year period with the GLRU by Ferreira.
It seems the 74-10 drubbing the Golden Lions got at the hands of the touring British and Irish Lions last Wednesday was the final straw, with the Old Boys Trust under leadership of their chairman Corrie Pypers, convening the caucus meeting.
This was not the first time the clubs had met on their own to discuss problems within the union, but the first time this issue had been addressed.
Voluble at the meeting was the representative of the coaches association, Dr Willem Boshoff, whose son Leon’s contract as an assistant coach to the Lions Super 14 team was terminated last month when he was asked to resign.
The association were not consulted in the termination of Leon’s position, that of head coach Eugene Eloff last week and the appointment of interim coach Hans Coetzee, and his assistants Wimpie Vermeulen and Ian Macdonald.
The clubs requested that Pienaar be the acting president and that Pirates’ chairperson Altmann Allers be co-opted onto the executive committee until the annual general meeting, which will now in all probability be brought forward from November to sometime in August in order for the newly elected exco to have more time before next season to get to grips with the union’s planning and functioning.
The present exco has been in office since the end of 2005 after the first four-year period of office was implemented in that year.
There is also great support for former Springbok lock Kevin de Klerk as president, but the member of the Old Boys Trust is not eligible at this stage and will only become so once a constitutional change has been effected – which seems an unlikely alternative for the GLRU at this stage.
Ferreira, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said he resigned in light of the uncertainties and to bring stability and calmness to the GLRU, he felt that it was best to step down to allow the dust to settle.
The statement goes on to say: “After 25 years of service at the GLRU, Ferreira leaves with no regrets and would like to thank every member that he has worked with in the past 25 years, and wishes the union all the best and every success in the future.
“Reyneke felt it right to step down at the time of his appointment as CEO, but the executive committee asked him to stay on until October this year when elections would take place, and his term would end. With the resignation of Ferreira, Reyneke felt the time had come to stand down from the Exco as well to spare them two separate elections.
“Reyneke remains the CEO of the Union, and on behalf of every member of staff and management has thanked Prof Jannie for his continued support, dedication and hard work.”