As the Golden Lions management apparently met with a delegation from SARU yesterday, aimed at thrashing out ways in which the newly-demoted franchise can be “supported” while excluded from Super Rugby in 2013, a series of fresh blows have rocked the once-proud union.
Earlier in the week, an independent arbitrator found in favour of the Lions erstwhile franchise partners, the Leopard and Pumas, in a long-running dispute over the divvying-up of franchise fees. Apart from yet another very public humiliation for the union, there’s the not insignificant matter of upwards of R5 million that the cash-strapped Lions will need to fork out in order to settle the matter; the last thing that the Golden Lions can really afford given that their balance sheet is far from healthy as it is, after close to a decade of gross financial mismanagement.
Opposition coaches publicly pledging to raid their meagre playing resources has also done little to soften the blow of Super Rugby exclusion, coupled with the associated loss of revenue that the Lions can ill afford.
Today’s latest saga is the admission that scrumhalf Whestley Moolman, an off-season acquisition from the Leopards who has yet to play any meaningful role in Joburg due to injuries, has been handed a final written warning and a suspended sentence for physically assaulting team manager Mustafa Boomgard in the latter’s office. Brenden Nel of SuperSport writes that acting Lions CEO Ruben Moggee has confirmed the incident, but described it as an “internal matter”.
Don’t be too surprised, in other words, to find Moolman (along with his brother, centre Bradley) leading a fairly quick exodus of players away from the stricken union.Tweet