Kings players to drop SARPA bomb on SARU
The South African Rugby Union, through the Southern Kings SA Rugby Pty Ltd (or SKSAR as the SARU Super Rugby body is called), will officially hand the players contract offers on Thursday.
So far the players have only be given letters indicating that they will be offered contracts.
As rugby365 revealed earlier this week 17 players from the current senior Eastern Province Kings squad are on SARU's wishlist for Super Rugby contracts.
However, rugby365 has reliably learnt that the players are likely to reject the offers, as they continued to stand firm and united behind the petition they handed over to Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson last Friday.
And in another startling development the players are planning to withdraw their membership from the South African Rugby Players Association.
The players feel the players' union has let down its members and are NOT serving the players' best interests by getting into bed with SARU.
SARPA confirmed earlier this week that it has met the management company of SKSAR.
SARPA also sent out letters to players who did not make the cut.
"SARPA now has insight on the plans going forward set out by the SKSAR and are comfortable with the SARU intervention and the way forward," SARPA said in a statement, adding: "Furthermore we believe that is the only viable option given the current situation."
The players are not happy with SARPA's stance and the 17 being offered SKSAR contract feel it is not fair on the other players – who have not been paid any salaries by the EPRU for three months – should not be left in the lurch.
As a result they are set to decline the SKSAR offers, as well as quit SARPA.
It is believed the players have already signed documents informing the players' union of their intention to cancel their membership.
It will be another huge embarrassment for SARU, who have stumbled from one crisis to another since taking charge of the embattled Southern Kings franchise last month.
While SARU was planning to bank mainly on Sevens and junior players to make up the bulk of their Kings Super Ruby squad, they still needed some experience.
That would have come in the form of the 17 players who were offered contracts.
They are Schalk Ferreira (prop), Tom Botha (prop), Edgar Marutlulle (hooker), Steven Sykes (lock), Cornell Hess (lock), Stefan Willemse (flank), Thembelani Bholi (flank), CJ Velleman (flank), Luke Watson (flank), Aidon Davis (No.8), Kevin Luiters (scrumhalf), Elgar Watts (flyhalf), Louis Fouche (flyhalf), Shane Gates (centre), Stefan Watermeyer (centre), JP du Plessis (centre), Siyanda Grey (wing).
However, if the players do stand firm, SKSAR, SARU and SARPA will be left with a major headache just over two months out from the start of the Super Rugby competition.
The players have been given until Thursday, December 10, to accept or reject the presented offers.
According to rugby365's information no player has, as yet, signed any contract.
By Jan de Koning