The EP Kings will face another year of First Division Currie Cup rugby in 2014, with SARU’s General Council yesterday voting against expansion of the Premier Division.
Under the proposal put forward, both the Kings and the Pumas would gain automatic entry to an expanded 8-team Premier Division next year; the quid pro quo from a Kings point of view would be to give up their right to a Super Rugby promotion-relegation battle against the bottom-placed South African franchise team. The thinking here was that entrenchment in the top flight of Currie Cup would provide the Kings an adequate base from which to contract players, build structures and ultimately prepare for their Super Rugby re-introduction in the 2016 season (when the competition expands).
With the Kings prepared to accept two more years without Super Rugby, the arrangement would have provided a fair deal of stability to the Golden Lions too, who would have had two years of guaranteed Super Rugby participation ahead of the 2016 competition expansion, in which they will presumably be entrenched anyway.
The General Council, however, failed to pass the Currie Cup expansion motion with the required 75% majority, as only 10 of 19 possible votes went in favour. Once again, the slew of small and insignificant unions comprising the tail that wags SARU’s dog have voted purely to preserve their own interests, with no thought for any bigger picture. We saw this year that Super Rugby exclusion is a virtual death knell for any side, with the Lions losing half of their squad as the result of just one year out of the competition. Kings players began to jump ship in their droves as well as soon as the final whistle blew after the relegation match at Ellis Park; few will remember that the Kings actually won that match, but any Lions fans trumpeting this decision as a triumph for their own union would do well not to forget just how close they came to another year in the wilderness.
This decision, once again, is a triumph for the small-minded.Tweet