This past week, we received news that our minister of sport was not talking out of his ass earlier this year when he said that the Southern Kings would be in the Super Rugby tournament instead of the Lions. It is now official. The Lions, my team, the current Currie Cup champions, will not be playing in the next Super Rugby tournament.
I am a Lions supporter, I am well used to disappointment and heartbreak but this is ridiculous. We have been dropped from the premier rugby tournament not because of a lack of skill or performance, but because of politics. We don’t even get the opportunity to defend our spot, it’s just done. We’re out.
How do the Kings expect to compete at this level? They never have before. The only way I can see them not making complete asses of themselves is to poach players… probably from the lions. I don’t get it. How do politicians justify messing with the sport to this extent? Surely there are more pressing matters vying for their attention? Surely the South African representatives to the Super Rugby tournament should be based on the best teams? Right?!
I have always been a Lions supporter. I will always be a Lions supporter. This tragic political decision may derail our fine rugby union and force another few years of development before we can again compete at the highest level, but you know what? I will still be a Lions supporter, even if no one in government is.
“Sports and politics don’t mix.” –Eric Heiden