We will be playing Super Rugby in 2013
The South African Rugby Union dismissed as 'speculation' reports that they have offered the Southern Kings a cash payment to get out of the Super Rugby race.
A report in the Weekend Argus suggested the Lions will not be relegated from Super Rugby next year, as the Kings have accepted an offer of ZAR40-million from SARU to postpone their inclusion.
A spokesman on Sunday described the article as 'speculation' and referred this website to a statement by SARU CEO Jurie Roux - posted on the union's website last week - in which he said negotiations surrounding the 2013 Super Rugby participation is "ongoing".
"SARU has no comment on what is clearly a speculative article," the spokesman told this website, when asked about the latest reports.
And the Kings have taken to the social media to dismiss the article as 'inaccurate'.
"The story going around we've taken money to stay out of Super Rugby in 2013 is NOT TRUE! We will be playing Super Rugby in 2013," the Kings said on their official Twitter page.
This was backed up by Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson.
"The reported article of the negotiated R40m comes as an absolute surprise to the Executive of EPRU Union," the Kings boss, Watson, said on Twitter.
According to the newspaper reports the sweetener for the Kings - apart from the cash pay-out - is that they will play in the Currie Cup Premier Division from next year.
According to the newspaper the Kings have been less successful in luring top-flight players to the region than they anticipated and, rather than suffer the embarrassment of being routed from the unforgiving frontlines of Super Rugby battle next year, they will use the cash injection and Currie Cup Premier League opportunity to prepare for their future promotion to the SANZAR competition
This is in stark contrast to the statement by the SARU boss, Roux, on the union's website last week.
"Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings' place in Super Rugby in 2013," Roux said.
"Our focus has been on finding a rugby answer to the questions that flow from that decision that's fair, transparent in its mechanism and will strengthen South African rugby in the long run.
"Those discussions continue.
"Until a final decision is reached, the franchises and the SARU presidency are agreed that it would be unhelpful to the competing teams to publicly debate the pros and cons of different scenarios. When a decision is announced we will be able to report back to rugby supporters in full."
By Jan de Koning