Manana eager for EPRU hot seat

THANDO MANANA
THANDO MANANA

Saru denies bailout for cash-strapped union

FORMER Springbok flank and rugby radio personality Thando Manana is ready to stand for the position of EP Rugby Union (EPRU) president if a planned vote of no confidence is passed against incumbent Cheeky Watson and his executive.

Disgruntled clubs are expected to mount a serious bid to topple Watson and his executive when a special general meeting is held on April 30.

Clubs called for the meeting because they are unhappy with the way rugby is being administered in the province.

Apart from Manana, former Despatch president Willem Oliphant has also indicated he is willing to stand if the position becomes vacant.

“First, I think it is important to clarify that I did not decide to look at the post should a vote of no confidence be passed on Cheeky, because I am happy where I am at SABC 2,” Manana said.

“However, as a rugby person and a proud Eastern Cape boy, I would definitely make myself available should I be approached to stand for any administration position, not only the president.

“The Eastern Cape, Border, SWD Districts and Boland are in a unique position because they are the breeding ground for rugby talent, both black and white.

“As such I will tap into that and ensure that does not dry up should I become part of the structure.

“I would also make sure we tighten up financial controls to prevent a similar situation in the future,” Manana said.

He played Currie Cup rugby for EP when they were known as the “Mighty Elephants” under Nelie Smith before he moved to Griquas where he was recognised by the national selectors and toured the United Kingdom and Argentina with the Springboks.

“I played for EP at all junior levels and later at top clubs Crusaders and Harlequins in Port Elizabeth,” Manana said.

He also earned seven caps for the Junior Springboks.

During his playing days Manana was describe as an abrasive flanker.

“I would like to think of myself as a toughie. I didn’t want to run around showing off with the ball and doing fancy things,” he said.

“I believed in doing the basics right and getting the job done. I think that was one of my strengths.”

Meanwhile, SA Rugby Union (Saru) bosses say they have not approved a rescue bailout plan to save the cash-strapped EPRU.

“Reports of a ‘bailout’ by SA Rugby are entirely inaccurate,” Saru spokesman Andy Colquhoun said.

“The executive council has, however, appointed one of its members [Monde Tabata] to liaise with the local union over the short term to discuss ways and means to ensure rugby continues despite the liquidation application.”

If any eleventhhour rescue plan fails and the more than R18-million owed to players is not forthcoming by May 10, EPRU’s fall from grace could be placed under further scrutiny.

Clubs want the following issues discussed at the special meeting:

The 2016 Currie Cup team;

Grand Challenge fixtures not take place until they are tabled to the union committee;

Vote of no confidence; and Appointment of auditors.

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