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The 2006 Currie Cup has been thrown into turmoil 48 hours before it kicks off, as a Cape High Court battle looms tomorrow.

Legal papers have been served on SA Rugby demanding that the Southern Spears be reinstated in the competition, as well as in next year's Super 14, and that SA Rugby should continue to pay the costs of the franchise.


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ja boet

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The 2006 Currie Cup has been thrown into turmoil 48 hours before it kicks off, as a Cape High Court battle looms tomorrow.

Legal papers have been served on SA Rugby demanding that the Southern Spears be reinstated in the competition, as well as in next year's Super 14, and that SA Rugby should continue to pay the costs of the franchise.

A 400-page affidavit was served on SA Rugby in Newlands yesterday afternoon, and this morning lawyers for the Spears were set to file a motion in the Cape High Court for an urgent application to be heard tomorrow.

If the application is successful, SA Rugby will be forced to accommodate the Spears in the Currie Cup Premier Division.

The application also seeks an order to reinstate the Spears in next year's Super 14, as originally agreed to by SA Rugby's Presidents Council and the board, at the expense of the Cats - the bottom South African side in this year's competition - who would be relegated.

In the affidavit, the Spears allege SA Rugby agreed on eight occasions that the side would play in this year's Currie Cup and would be entrenched in the Super 14 for two years.

They also say that SA Rugby agreed to fund the franchise to the tune of R12m this year and that they were well within budget, with R5.7m still to be paid to the franchise this year.

The Spears allege SA Rugby was in breach of its own constitution on four occasions and had reneged on the decision to include the Spears in the Super 14 and Currie Cup.

They say SA Rugby was guilty of abandoning the Spears through "economic victimisation" by stopping payment to their officials, players and coaches.

They allege this cost the southern Cape team R30m in sponsorships that had been lined up.


If the application is successful, SA Rugby will be forced to continue funding the Spears and would have to find a way to accommodate them in the Currie Cup from next weekend, when the Spears intend playing their first home game against the Pumas in Port Elizabeth.

Next week Spears coach Peter de Villiers will return from France, where he is coaching the SA under-21 team as they defend their title. They play New Zealand in the quarter-finals this afternoon.

But if the Spears do force their way back into the Currie Cup, SA Rugby will be sorely embarrassed.

The Currie Cup fixtures were finalised last month without the Spears, so matches would have to be rescheduled.

And the Cats would face dire financial consequences if they were excluded from next year's Super 14.

Spears chief executive Tony McKeever alleges in the Spears affidavit that SA Rugby had decided the Spears were not ready for Super 14 or Currie Cup rugby without any senior official ever having watched the team play, asked for tapes of their games or interviewed their coaches or players.

The Spears were due to play in this year's Super 14 and Vodacom had agreed to sponsor the team to the tune of R15m a year.

But then SA Rugby decided that the Cheetahs would play this year and the Spears would be included for the 2007 and 2008 competition. The Vodacom sponsorship was passed on to the Cheetahs.

New SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins had made no secret of his intention to remove the Spears from the Super 14 even before he was elected on February 28.

daleg@incape.co.za
with all these new team names it is difficult to know who is who in the zoo

klink net soos n geld maak saak en nie uintlik rugby nie