The South African Rugby Union on Monday stood its ground, despite the fall-out over a statement that their alliance with New Zealand and Australia – thereby with SANZAR – could come to an end after 2015.
Jan Marais, Chairman of the Executive Council of SARU, refused to back down from his earlier stance that South Africa would be looking at alternative options – in the wake of the most recent public spats between SARU and their Australasian partners.
Weekend media reports revealed that the SARU Executive Council demanded that alternatives to the Tri-Nations and Super Rugby tournaments be explored from 2015.
“We are always reviewing what is in the long term interests of South African rugby – as New Zealand and Australia do in their markets,” Marais told rugby365.com, when asked for clarity on the weekend reports.
“We’ll discuss those issues with our SANZAR partners when they’re here.”
On Sunday, Marais was quoted as saying: “The council gave the instruction that we should look at other possibilities beyond 2015.
“We can’t do anything about the current agreement, because we are locked in until the contract expires.
“However, there is the strong feeling that we should at least look at possibilities we can explore at the conclusion of our current broadcasting deal.”
Earlier, SARU President Oregan Hoskins attempted to pour cold water on the suggestion of a looming split, but Marais’ comments suggest the Executive Council is in no mood to soften their stance.
The relationship between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia has become more strained than ever in the past month, as a result of the Bok outcry over perceived refereeing bias in the Tri-Nations.
Then there was the charge of misconduct against coach Peter de Villiers, which was dismissed, and then came Hoskins’s subsequent claim of a “declaration of war” by the Kiwis and Aussies against South Africa.
But Hoskins, despite his earlier “war” statement, took a more conciliatory note at the weekend.
“Tri-Nations rugby is a robust game and we have robust conversations in the boardroom and occasionally knock each other down and have to pick each other up, dust ourselves off and get on with. But it has been like that since day one,” Hoskins was quoted as saying in the Sunday Times.
“The bottom line is that this is the toughest rugby competition in the world and we’re fully part of it with our neighbours.
“In that spirit, we’ll be having discussions with New Zealand and Australia when they’re over here and after that we’ll get on with ensuring we continue to produce the best rugby tournaments in the world,” Hoskins told the Sunday Times.
Article Courtesy of Jan De Koning Rugby 365.Tweet