• ‘American alliance’ to save EP Rugby?

    A classified meeting between SA Rugby and Pro Rugby North America over a possible bailout for the beleaguered EP Rugby, is scheduled to take place in London this week.

    According to the Herald, Douglas Schoninger, a New York-based financier and CEO of Pro Rugby North America – the official league for professional rugby in the region – will meet with SA Rugby president Mark Alexander to discuss a potential partnership that could save the cash-strapped EP.

    EP's Super Rugby franchise, the Kings, is currently financed by the national governing body, SA Rugby, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Pro Rugby North America, however, is eager to form a strategic financial alliance with two Kings sponsors.

    'We have received a request for a meeting from Pro Rugby North America and are currently consulting with USA Rugby,' SA Rugby spokesman Andy Colquhoun told the Herald.

    Schoninger later confirmed that talks between him and Alexander will get underway this week.

    'We have sent a letter to SA Rugby to say we are very interested in acquiring the Mandela Bay teams. We've been watching the situation for a while and after quite a bit of work, we think that a relationship with those teams would add tremendously to both the Pro and EP unions,' said Schoninger.

    'Mark Alexander and I will be in London for the week of 13 November, we plan to discuss the potential partnership,' Schoninger confirmed. 

    Former Southern Spears CEO and Mandela Bay Rugby founder, Tony McKeever, who was also involved with the negotiations, has described the looming deal as the 'American Alliance'.

    Photo: Douglas Schoninger

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    Mariette Adams