Super Rugby
SARU denies Super Rugby boycott
ESPNscrum Staff
February 12, 2012
The Southern Kings celebrate their Nations Cup success, Nations Cup, Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest, Romania, June 19, 2011
The Southern Kings' introduction may force one of the existing franchise's to surrender this spot in Super Rugby © IRB

The South African Rugby Union has denied rumours that their five Super Rugby franchises are threatening to boycott the 2013 competition.

Reports on Sunday suggested that the Lions, the Stormers, the Bulls, the Sharks and the Cheetahs had sent a letter to SARU chairman Oregon Hoskins stating that if one of the five franchises were removed from the 2013 then all five would boycott the tournament. The news comes after the SARU granted the Southern Kings a spot in the 2013 competition with the hope that SANZAR would allow the competition to be expanded to 16 teams.

SANZAR, however, has ruled out the possibility citing commercial deals as one reason behind why expansion is not possible for the time being. And amid reports that the South African sides were threatening to pull out of the competition, the SARU has poured cold water on the rumours through a statement.

"No threat of a boycott was made," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU. "But the franchises have made it plain that the only option to them is the expansion of Vodacom Super Rugby. They also pledged their support for the Kings' inclusion in 2013 as well as for SARU's efforts to persuade SANZAR to include a sixth South African franchise."

They claim that the letter - instead of threatening a boycott - stated:

"After lengthy discussions between the Franchises, we unanimously decided that it is imperative:
- That such inclusion will benefit South African rugby in general;
- That none of the existing franchises shall be prejudiced by such inclusion in any way whatsoever
- That none of the existing franchises shall be eliminated from the tournament in 2013 or at any stage thereafter as a result of the inclusion of the Kings
- That SARU as custodian of the South African leg of the tournament will ensure that the Kings are included without prejudice to any of the existing franchises.

"The existing franchises will endeavour to provide all necessary assistance and support to SARU in its negotiations with SANZAR to ensure the inclusion of six South African franchises in 2013 onwards."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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