• Crous leaves EP Rugby

    Charl Crous has resigned as EPRU chief executive to take up a position as the chief operating officer of the new Southern Kings entity. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

    Crous’s parting of ways with EP Rugby is the latest twist in the ongoing Kings saga, which this week saw players receiving Saru’s contract offers for Super Rugby.

    There are murky circumstances around Crous’s move to the new company, which will apparently trade under the name of SA RUGBY Super Rugby Pty Ltd, and will be responsible for contracting at the Southern Kings.

    That process is understood to have gathered steam on Friday, with a large group of players believed to have accepted their contract offers, despite the fact it apparently required a pay cut.

    Although Crous has left EP Rugby, he has still taken up office at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where he will serve as the COO of the new Super Rugby company, which will also comprise a board of directors. There are sure to be concerns and queries around Crous's suitability for the role with the Super Rugby franchise considering the turmoil that has beset EP rugby.

    Considerable questions have also been raised around the structure of the new Southern Kings company, particularly related to who the shareholders and owners are, and how the formation of a new entity for Super Rugby can be in accordance with elements of Saru’s constitutional regulations.

    However, the only comment from the South African Rugby Union on the matter has been to insist that the Kings are 100% Saru owned.

    With Kings players accepting new contracts as part of the Super Rugby set-up, their current contracts with EP Rugby will become null and void.

    It’s understood that many of the players earmarked for contracts have been caught in a catch-22, needing to accept the Super Rugby offer for the sake of their careers and financial security, while realising that many other players have been ‘left out in the cold’ and still are under contract to the cash-strapped EP Kings.

    Most glaringly, Luke Watson is reported to be one of the players who has not made the final Super Rugby cut, with the squad that is being formed believed to be at least 50% black.

    Players who have signed new contracts are also said to have now begun to receive due payments, while for those who remain contracted to EP Rugby, details are set to be sent to them outlining the steps and process of instituting legal action against the EP Kings in an attempt to recoup outstanding salaries.

    There are significant question marks over that process as well as considering that the EPRU is effectively bankrupt and facing what many believe is the prospect of undergoing liquidation.

    Saru is expected to confirm the list of contracted Super Rugby players in the coming days, while the launch of the Southern Kings’ new jersey, originally scheduled for Monday, has been postponed.

    Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

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    Craig Lewis