Kings not yet in Currie Cup let alone Super15

Whether or not the Southern Kings will part in the Super 15 from 2011 should be known by the end of this week but their participation in the Currie Cup is far from gauranteed.

It is widely accepted that if the Kings are included in the Super 15 they will need to prepare by facing some stiff opposition. It has also been widely suggested that their best option would be for them to be included in the Currie Cup in the season prior to joining theSuper 15. That now seems almost impossible.

Their status in the Currie Cup gained no traction at this week’s Presidents Council meeting in Johannesburg.

Amongst other things the meeting was meant to deal with the Kings’ possible participation in the higher echelons of the Currie Cup. However, delegates from the franchise were told to give the matter more thought and come up with proposals.

“We haven’t made that much progress. It was agreed that the three provinces making up the franchise must come up with proposals,” said SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins.

“I also have a few proposals that will help advance the franchise, but I can’t discuss that now,” Hoskins told the Times

Hokins is in an unenviable position. SA Rugby made a commitment to government that a competitive Kings team would be allowed to play in the Super 15, but the rugby governing body also had to abide by their constitution in fulfilling this mandate. Under the current competition agreement, the Currie Cup can only be amended in 2011.

“My feeling is we must make a decision before the end of November,” James Stofberg, the SA Rugby competition committee chairman and Leopards Rugby Union president.

“I can’t speak on behalf of SA Rugby but as far as the Leopards are concerned, we would like to find a way to accommodate the Southern Kings, in whichever shape or form.

“There must be ways to do this. This is an issue of principle. I think the provinces were generally positive about the Kings and finding a way to include them.”

But Piet Bergh, the Boland Rugby Union chief executive, was less accommodating.”I can’t see how all this will happen in 2010. It makes no sense,” said Bergh.

“On the one hand we are told there is no room for more than six teams in the Premier Division and on the other, the possibility arises that we could get nine teams for 2010.

“It would have to be nine teams because there is no way you can exclude the teams that have legitimately qualified for that division.

“We struggled year after year to avoid the wooden spoon in the Super 14, now we are told we’ll have six competitive teams.

“If you can have six Super 14 teams, then surely the country has enough talent to have eight teams competing in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup.”

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