South African rugby embarks on one of its more painful but vital processes on Tuesday.
The new franchise committee of the South African Rugby Union (Saru) meets to determine which two local teams will be chopped from next year’s competition.
Jurie Roux, Saru’s chief executive, is candid about what’s at stake and touches on all the issues.
Super Rugby should never have been expanded to 18 teams
In the end, the ultimate competition was probably the Super 12.
To be honest, we probably should’ve never moved away from it but there were different reasons for that.
Over the last decade or so, every union had different reasons for supporting the expansion. Some it was purely selfishness, others had a clear mandate from the union on high performance.
Some of it was politics and other purely about making revenue.
Whatever the reason, it ended up being a tournament that if we don’t change it, we’ll have serious issues.
There is simply no place for any emotion in this decision
This is a difficult decision. It’s difficult to tell to unions too because we’re talking of people’s livelihoods here.
The only way to get to who needs to be relegated from Super Rugby is by developing clear criteria.
If I give that final criteria to a three-year-old, he or she needs to understand it. We need to be transparent.
The reality is that there’s always some politics involved. There will also be emotion, which is the toughest thing to manage.
When we get emotional, we don’t make rational decisions.
South Africa needs to finalise this process within the next month
My plea for Tuesday’s meeting is: make it swift, get the decision across the board, don’t be political and don’t be emotional.
Get to a point where everyone knows what’s going on, so that we’re not accused of stalling.
Australia is about to announce who they are cutting, we should be in that position soon. I’d say we can’t take longer than a month.
The culled franchises can be helped
Player and coaches’ contracts will obviously be influenced. All of that you can actually handle.
You can develop alternative competitions, you can give a balloon payment that sorts out people in terms of the remainder of their contracts.
We’re now at a time where the economic reality of this country is that we can’t sustain six franchises. Look at the results.
I find it funny that franchises are now complaining that this isn’t the right decision for the future. They’ve been part of the process the whole way.