robdylan

SARU’s half measures ensure no winners here


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :EP Kings, Lions, Original Content, Super Rugby on 17 Aug 2012 at 09:34
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Let’s get this out in the open… the decision yesterday to give the Kings a year in Super Rugby at the expense of the Lions was a disaster, but probably not for the reason that many people think.

Allow me to build my case here, if you will. Rugby, in the professional era, is an arms race. Just look at the way the Bulls behave when recruiting at junior level and you’ll see it plainly – winning this war is all about building the right structures and attracting as many good players as you can. No team can compete at any of the meaningful levels of this game without attracting and retaining top talent, both on the field and in the coaching box. Players (and coaches), ultimately, are drawn by the prospect of higher honours and know that they need to be playing in top competitions in order to gain the exposure they’ll need in order to push for national selection, better contracts, sponsorships, lucrative book deals and a cushy SuperSport commentary job once they retire. It’s the way of the world.

Super Rugby participation, in other words, is the carrot that attracts good players to a team and in the South African context especially, it is simply impossible to attract anyone but a journeyman or wide-eyed youngster desperate for game time if you can’t offer that incentive. Those who naively put forward the argument about the Kings not deserving a Super Rugby spot on “rugby reasons alone” (whatever those are) NEED to be aware of the fact that the playing fields are hardly level and have not been for some years. How do you expect the Kings to have assembled a squad capable of competing at Super Ruby level without players of the required calibre to compete at Super Rugby level? Turning that on its head, why would any player of Super Rugby calibre sign for the Kings without a cast-iron guarantee that said franchise would be playing Super Rugby? Its a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation.

What about the Lions, though? What do they deserve? I feel for their fans (although to be honest, if more people had been willing to stand up and be counted during the dark times, perhaps things in Joburg wouldn’t have got so bad) but cannot honestly say that, with any fibre of my being, I believe that they deserve anything less than this forced relegation, after the frankly diabolical way that the entire union has performed and behaved in Super Rugby ever since being given an individual franchise some years back.

No, it’s not that I feel that the Lions should have been allowed to stay; yesterday’s decision was a disaster because it happened too late to give the Kings any realistic chance of assembling a competitive squad ahead of next year’s competition. The double-whammy is the ludicrous awarding of Super Rugby status to the Kings for only one year, a move frankly guaranteed to ensure that they fail. It takes time to build anything at this level – the Lions have been afforded five years or more and haven’t got it right. Why should the Kings be expected to do it in just one?

Mark my words, this shaky compromise aimed at keeping everybody happy will only serve to destroy both the Lions and the Kings and I predict many years of yo-yoing at the bottom end of the SA Super Rugby conference. Ask yourself this, in closing – which top player would be prepared to commit their future to either the Lions or the Kings, under this system?



58 Comments

  • Three years. That’s what they should have gotten.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.08.12 09:44:51 by King Shark Reply
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  • @King Shark (Comment 1) : I reckon there’s going to be a lot of traffic on the road between PE and Joburg in November each year…

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.08.12 09:50:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • Great article Rob.

    I think this “compromise” is aimed at ensuring that the Kings fail.

    No other respond for such a late decision and one measly year. It’s a farce.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.08.12 10:01:29 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Yep, give them the same opportunity which the Lions squandered.

    One thing that counts in the Kings favor is that their management brings ambition to the table.

    I never liked the idea of the Kings inclusion and also felt it to be unfair blah blah blah, but the Lions lost my vote during this year’s SR – they were rubbish, and then turned around and blamed it on the only good thing they had going for them.

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.08.12 10:02:27 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • There is no happy ending here for the Lions or the Kings.

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.08.12 10:03:18 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Great article Rob and agree fully with you. The Kings are being set up for failure.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.08.12 10:08:19 by Viking Reply
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  • The Kings should be smart when signing on players. Offer the players 1 year contracts with a clause that extends their contracts for 1 further year if they win the promotion/relegation match.

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.08.12 10:10:57 by Ben Reply

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  • Bottom line…The Lions has had plenty of time to build a respectful team that can compete internationally and not just pitch for the darby games. If they really want to give the Kings a chance they need to give the sufficient time to build a outfit that can compete. This is not a once of Capex that will give you quality in 5 months time.

    If the Kings are to be successful they will need the following:
    1) Sufficient cash to build depth and quality
    2) Sufficient time to build depth and quality
    3) EP need to be the corner stone of the outfit and therefor the bulk of the super rugby players will have to come from there
    4) EP needs to compete in the CC premier division to build quality players for Super Rugby

    I can go on and on but the reality of the matter is that the answer already to all the above requirements is that it is not there and will not be there when they start their campaign. :oops:

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.08.12 10:14:37 by Viking Reply
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  • You mirror my sentiments Rob.

    SARU has now created a situation where the Kings will only care about two matches next year, the promotion/relegation fixtures. What happens to them in Super Rugby is irrelevant.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.08.12 10:15:43 by Morné Reply
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  • The ramification of this is that the Kings will come out in a year’s time as a slightly better team and the Lions will be destroyed as a franchise. Come relegation time, the Lions will nock the Kings out again and the whole mess will start from scratch where the Kings will be automatically included again.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.08.12 10:17:16 by Viking Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 9) : They keep on playing international fixtures against Romania :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.08.12 10:18:22 by Viking Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Im not so sure. All the Lions need to do is to ensure they have enough money to hold onto their current players for a year, in the process they can win the Vodacup and the Currie Cup even and when it comes to the playoffs they will almost be guaranteed of whacking the Kings who will be forced to make up the numbers from some of the better players at other unions that are not getting Super rugby exposure. The crux will be the Lions finding someone to bankroll them for one season only and not even a full one at that.

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.08.12 10:19:06 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • I fully agree with this. You cannot build a squad based on what the Kings have been given. This situation is a lose lose situation. It’s sad that SA’s (in fact SANZAR’s) largest city will not be represented in Super Rugby.

    But it difficult to say that they deserve to be in. If the Lions had been run properly they should have had the cash and wherewithal to assemble a more than competitive team. But talking about giving the Kings a concrete parachute!

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.08.12 10:21:14 by MikeSebMatt Reply

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  • I now seriously question the competency of SARU? If you want to do something then do it, But don’t be an idiot about doing it. I doubt that the IQ in the room was more than the amount of votes that was cast.

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.08.12 10:26:32 by Viking Reply
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  • Bloody Idjits…. :twisted:

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.08.12 10:28:32 by Viking Reply
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  • Surely we don’t expect better from SARU. It’s run by a bunch of halfwits.

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.08.12 10:31:42 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 12) : The question is what will the better Lion players do – hang on for a year, join the Kings or go overseas?

    Personally I just don’t think we have the depth to field 5 super rugby teams. I really do hope a better system is negotiated in 2016 – as I really hate this current rubbish (way too long, really stupid playoff system, too many local derbies, not playing against all teams from other countries).

    I would prefer a two tier system with the top tier running like the super 12 used to. Then you can talk about bringing in Argie and PI teams too – even if you have to host them in SA, Aus and NZ

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.08.12 10:33:10 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • I feel that how they can go a put a 1st division team into the Super rugby tournament before they could even get into the Currie Cup is diabolical, the Kings battled to beat the Valke & the Kalvaliers the last few years, now they need to play the rebels & the force whom should be able to get a nice few 5 pointers out of them. They should have been placed in the currie cup a few years ago first.So now they are in the super rugby where are they in the currie cup? no mention of that here.

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.08.12 10:35:35 by Dunx Reply

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  • Another way to look at it, is that the SANZAR agreement will be renegotiated in 2015, which means we could potentially increase our participation in the competition to six teams. Thus the Kings and the Lions will be included. The challenge that SARU have is to make sure that come 2016, both the Kings AND the Lions, are competitive. At least with the promotion/relegation situation, the Lions will still have an opportunity to play S15 in 2014, thus hopefully giving them an extra card to play in the retention of their players. Same with the Kings if they get relegated in 2013, to play again in 2015. Maybe not such a bad decision after all?

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.08.12 10:37:58 by Argex Reply

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  • @lostfish (Comment 16) : Oi! As a bona-fide halfwit I take great offense at being compared to SARU!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.08.12 10:38:09 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Argex (Comment 19) : I know there are a lot of ifs and buts in this scenario, but SARU have to look at that option. I’m not defending them in any way, just another take on the situation. At least the TOTAL destruction of the Lions franchise will be avoided, as the more loyal players will choose to rough it out in the Currie Cup next year and then fight for a place in Super Rugby the year after. Sure, a lot of their better players will leave, but it could be much worse.

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.08.12 10:41:59 by Argex Reply

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  • If you thnk the Lions are pissed, can you imagine that you are the team that does not get to play / collect your free 5 points against the Kings next year :twisted:

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.08.12 10:48:09 by Viking Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :

    I think the Top Lions players will Leave for the Sharks Bulles and WP . And after that .. well thats the end …

  • Comment 23, posted at 17.08.12 10:53:33 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 20) : lol, ok the no-wits.

  • Comment 24, posted at 17.08.12 10:55:27 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 7) : nah – as far as the Kings are concerned, it’s a sellers’ market

  • Comment 25, posted at 17.08.12 10:58:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 17) :

    Lions union will enter into loan-agreements for their top players with other franchises.

  • Comment 26, posted at 17.08.12 11:00:46 by Morné Reply
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  • @Dunx (Comment 18) : nah, you’re falling back into the same fallacy of an argument. How are the Kings supposed to be any better than the Kavaliers and the Valke without the carrot of top flight rugby to attract and retain top talent?

  • Comment 27, posted at 17.08.12 11:01:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 17) : That’s it. Lions management and sponsors should offer their current contracted players a fat bonus to stay put in the knowledge that they will be back in top flight rugby within a year.

  • Comment 28, posted at 17.08.12 11:03:27 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 12) :

    The problem is the players will not come in contention for Bok selection So the better players will leave for The Bulls , Sharks and Province .

  • Comment 29, posted at 17.08.12 11:03:31 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 17) :

    I think we can field 6 teams . It might take a few years to get things up to standard . But it can be done . We just need a way to keep the Bulls from buying all the talented school boys for each year .

  • Comment 30, posted at 17.08.12 11:08:41 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Comment 31, posted at 17.08.12 11:12:16 by klempie Reply

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  • @Zibbie (Comment 30) : 6 competitive teams? :shock:

  • Comment 32, posted at 17.08.12 11:13:36 by Ben Reply

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  • @Argex (Comment 19) :

    Wait .. your expecting SARU to do work ? no how can you expect that .

  • Comment 33, posted at 17.08.12 11:13:38 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 32) :

    Yes . Why not . With the right amount of exposure a player will develop better . IF the Bok talent is spread around better we will have more competitive players .

  • Comment 34, posted at 17.08.12 11:16:06 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 34) : what’s your view here… who do you think is to blame for this situation that you, as a fan, find yourself in?

  • Comment 35, posted at 17.08.12 11:16:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 34) : Will never happen. Don’t have the depth in SA either imo.

  • Comment 36, posted at 17.08.12 11:17:44 by Ben Reply

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  • @King Shark (Comment 1) :

    AMEN!! :)

  • Comment 37, posted at 17.08.12 11:18:35 by wpw Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 31) : dude – that is just cruel :)

  • Comment 38, posted at 17.08.12 11:19:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 33) : Hahaha… Just making a point. But it does sound rather farsical to think they do work.

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.08.12 11:21:51 by Argex Reply

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  • @Zibbie (Comment 29) : Its going to be almost impossible to hold onto the players but those players may be less likely to go if they realise they are not likely to get game time at another union anyway (other than the Kings).

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.08.12 11:22:16 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : hehehehehehehe

  • Comment 41, posted at 17.08.12 11:25:20 by klempie Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 35) :

    Apartheid :P No just joking :P

    man i dont know . The cats cause huge financial losses for both the Lions and the Cheetahs . But the Time the Cats broke up to be the Lions and the Cheethas again both unions where so far behind they could not catch up

    But having said that the Bulls got themselves out off a similar mess in the early 2000 ‘s

    So miss management then . Not being able to hang onto our top players . Wrong coaches being appointed .

    But im also not happy with the way SARU have handled this . Why have hey only started negotiating with Europe now ? why could they not have done this in 2006 . Got the Kings and Griquas en Pumas to play in Europe ?

  • Comment 42, posted at 17.08.12 11:30:33 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 36) :

    The Bulls bought 26 young school boys this year . That is almost 2 players in every position . Do you not think that if the talent were spread more evenly and everybody was given a fair opportunity to develop we would have had more talented players . By the time the Bulls discard that player the opportunity to develop him properly has already passed

  • Comment 43, posted at 17.08.12 11:33:12 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 42) : SARU’s inaction has damaged all parties concerned, that much is clear.

    What I can’t live with, though, is blame-shifting on the part of the Lions admins, players or even fans. This one has been a long time coming and is warranted, if for no other reason than 5 years’ worth of shocking results.

  • Comment 44, posted at 17.08.12 11:49:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 43) : I agree with that 100%

  • Comment 45, posted at 17.08.12 11:49:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 43) : hey bru, was looking for you, you must send me your email adresse so I can send you a application form to apply for a supporting role at the sharks…. :-)

  • Comment 46, posted at 17.08.12 12:28:50 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 46) : I second this! Zibbie would make a great Sharks supporter! :twisted:

  • Comment 47, posted at 17.08.12 12:32:19 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 43) : @robdylan (Comment 44) : Question. I realise the 1 year deal could be detrimental to all parties but would this have all been worthwhile if the Lions come back in 2014 with their house finally in order?

  • Comment 48, posted at 17.08.12 12:36:34 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 48) : I don’t believe in fairytales… do you? Do you see ANYONE at the Lions taking any sort of accountability for this situation, or the indication of anything changing?

  • Comment 49, posted at 17.08.12 12:37:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : I honestly think there’s at least the possibility of this happening – the Lions are running out of excuses, money and options too. Let’s for the sake of discussion though, rebrand my question as completely hypothetical. What would your answer be?

  • Comment 50, posted at 17.08.12 12:51:13 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 50) : ok, so laying cards on the table… I don’t care what the Lions do :)

    I know it sounds harsh, but my loyalties really start and finish with the Sharks. I think that it’s appalling how badly the Lions are managed

  • Comment 51, posted at 17.08.12 12:54:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 44) :

    I agree we need to take accountability. form top to bottom . I understand from some sides that Kevin the Klerk have been working day and night to solve this . However i do not work with these people at all . You might be able to give a clear unbiased picture about who is good a who is bad for the Union .

  • Comment 52, posted at 17.08.12 13:02:23 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 48) :

    if by some miracle we can hang on to our players and sign a few current Boks . But both you and me know thats not gonna happen

  • Comment 53, posted at 17.08.12 13:04:06 by Zibbie Reply
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  • At Last, SA rugby used their brains and levelled they playing field, like Australia by having a easy conference to compete in, not only does it give SA teams a better chance to go top of the overall log, but also gives them two extra weeks to rest. Great thinking there by our SARFU brain trust.

  • Comment 54, posted at 17.08.12 13:06:09 by Uli Reply
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  • I just wish the Kings had done a Griquas and competed properly in the Currie Cup. That would make it more clear cut and fair. They haven’t even won the 1st division!

  • Comment 55, posted at 17.08.12 15:04:32 by MikeSebMatt Reply

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  • @MikeSebMatt (Comment 55) : They tried, they couldnt, they got politcal. Its called entitlement. Some like it some dont most dont give a squat. :twisted:

  • Comment 56, posted at 17.08.12 17:01:36 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • @Zibbie (Comment 53) : as this joke goes (excuse the pun ;-) – you do not have to outrun the lion just the other sods.
    What I mean you do not have to beat supersharks but just kings – they will not get so much better within 1 year of competing in super rugby. look where rebels are with all their internationals.

  • Comment 57, posted at 17.08.12 17:48:01 by rekinek Reply
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  • Let’s be honest. The lions gave NZ & AUS team lots of points and trip SA teams up every year. Always at the bottom Let them go!!

  • Comment 58, posted at 17.08.12 21:16:16 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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