Super unions can help Boks

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April 10, 2017
Super unions can help Boks

BULL TALK: Lions' Faf de Klerk

Mergers and cuts could be key to SA rugby resurgence

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But if you’re a Cheetahs fan, you are probably pissed off today.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has not announced who the two teams cut from the tournament are.

The Kings, however, is a given – it’s something I’ve been saying all along.

Then there is the Cheetahs. With limited resources, they’ve done well over the years to send in a semi-competitive squad.

And after winning last year’s Currie Cup, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Bloemfontein franchise.

Now I was thinking; how about a big merger between the Bulls and the Lions?

It wouldn’t surprise me if Saru pulled this move.

The Bulls are struggling. As much was evident in their defeat to the Sunwolves this past weekend.

They are only a klipgooi away from Ellis Park and it wouldn’t be much of a schlep to travel between Centurion and Joburg either way.

Besides, can you imagine the strength of a team that would come out of such a combined franchise?

It will definitely make South African rugby strong again and broaden our talent pool and interest in Super Rugby if the Cheetahs still remain in the tournament.

To play for the Lion-Bulls would be an absolute honour for the players and while it will mean the end of the trans-Jukskei derby, such a franchise will allow the national team bosses to test out different combinations.

If emotion is taken out of it, this would be the best solution for Saru.

Players who then don’t make the final squad, can be added to the Cheetahs franchise – securing that, you have another strong team.

Provincialism is something that is still very much etched into the hearts of South African rugby fans and a move in this direction will no doubt be slammed by fans.

But for a while now, the talk has been that the Springboks should be the number one priority in this country.

And this is the only way I can see us, as South Africans, keeping the game alive in all corners of the country.

Bloemfontein has produced a number of stars over the years and having strong franchises all around in South Africa, like New Zealand, is perhaps the only way to get the Boks competing with the All Blacks again.

I know it might only be wishful thinking, but sometimes you have to think out of the box.

Saru, though, should have fought harder to keep a fifth team.

If it is indeed the Cheetahs that will be axed along with Deon Davids’ Kings, it would make sense for them to start shipping off their players to Asia.

Already having a deal with Toyota Verblitz, I can see a number of Cheetahs players doing a Willie Britz and Riaan Viljoen by playing for the Sunwolves.

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