CAPE TOWN – There was no emergency meeting called by players and no ultimatum from DHL.
Those two points were made clear by the Western Province Rugby Union yesterday following a series of media reports that stated the contrary.
Reports surfaced that WPRFU president Zelt Marais wanted Paul Treu to replace Gert Smal as director of rugby, that unhappy players held an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon (and that a player strike wasn’t out of the question), and that DHL had given the union an ultimatum to remove Treu from the system or it would pull out as a sponsor.
WP Rugby yesterday confirmed that the leadership called a meeting with the Stormers players on Monday, but that no meeting - reportedly called by senior players - took place on Sunday.
Megan Collinicos, marketing director for DHL, also denied that they are getting involved in the issue.
“DHL are committed title sponsors and partners to Western Province & the Stormers,” Collinicos told rugby365com. All team management (and player) decisions fall under WP Rugby’s mandate directly.”
The union didn’t specify anything relating to their coaching roles for the 2019 Super Rugby season or the official announcement thereof, however, other than that they are “currently discussing, strategising and planning the optimal coaching and team management structures for 2020 and beyond”.
Western Province Rugby Group chief executive Paul Zacks said that the immediate focus remains on their Super Rugby campaign.
“The meeting between senior leadership of Western Province Rugby and Stormers players on Monday was constructive and it is encouraging as we are all committed to the future wellbeing of our professional teams,” Zacks said.
“While it is unfortunate that there was some misinformation in the public domain, we are confident of making meaningful progress to ensure that the Stormers and team management have the best chance of success in the 2019 season and beyond.
We have got incredible sponsors who have stood together with us through thick and thin without exception.”@WynonaLouw