Cheetahs: Stransky is 'ill-informed'

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 13:08

REACTION: The Cheetahs believe Joel Stransky is "ill-informed" after the Springbok legend said he hoped the Bloemfontein-based side and Port Elizabeth's Southern Kings would be axed from Super Rugby.

The Cheetahs reacted to comments made by Stransky to New Zealand's Radio Sport on Tuesday.

Speculation has been rife that SANZAAR will cut three teams - two South African and one Australian - from the competition.

Stransky said he hoped the Cheetahs and Kings would be axed, leaving four strong South African teams.

"More than a third of the way into the 2017 Super Rugby competition the Cheetahs are ranked in the top four of the South African Super Rugby teams," the Cheetahs said in response to Stransky's comments. 

The Cheetahs also dismissed Stransky's view that they are not financially sustainable.

"The Cheetahs are one of very few South African rugby entities to show a healthy profit in the 2017 financial year and are financially sustainable," the Cheetahs added.

"As an entity, the Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd embarked on a five-year financial plan and is realising better than expected results. Furthermore, the only the rugby entity in South Africa to have a sold-out stadium in the 2016 season."

Stransky said that the Cheetahs and the Kings "have very low supporter bases during Super Rugby", but the Cheetahs did not agree,

"Broadcasters viewership numbers [in 2016] show that the Cheetahs have larger viewership numbers than any of the Australian and New Zealand franchises. 

"The Cheetahs combined total unique audience for Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup measures comfortably within the top four positions in South African Rugby," the Cheetahs said.

Stransky also believes that due to the Cheetahs' location they cannot "economically sustain a team".

The Cheetahs responded: "The middle of the country, consisting of the Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, where the Cheetahs and Kings support bases are based, boasts 26 percent of the active rugby fans in South Africa. 

"Further to that the Mangaung Metro Municipality is growing at a rapid pace with regards to transport and economic development contributing to the overall infrastructure development in South Africa"

According to to Stransky, the Cheetahs are also not capable of breeding a winning culture.

However, the Bloem side replied: "The Cheetahs, the 2016 Currie Cup champions, are the conveyer belt for great young talent, coaches and administrators [Franco Smith, Niel Powell, Brendan Venter, Rassie Erasmus, Jacques Nienaber, Ian Swartz] and boast 10 players included in the 2017 Springbok training squad of which seven players are of colour further highlighting their contribution towards the transformation of South African rugby. 

"By axing the Cheetahs from Super Rugby this conveyer belt will come to a grinding halt, negatively impacting South African Rugby."

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