A South African Rugby Union (SARU) judicial officer has rejected a complaint that the Valke fielded an ineligible player in their Absa Currie Cup First Division semi-final against the Leopards on 3 October. The Valke won the match 31-24. The Leopards complained that Valke flyhalf Clinton Swart was ineligible for the match as he had only been available to play for the team for two matches before the semi-final.
They argued that the regulations required for him to be available for five log matches to be eligible for the play-offs. The Leopards based their complaint on the argument that the Currie Cup First Division was a double round tournament – including the preceding Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying tournament – and therefore required a five-match availability qualification period for play-off appearances. The Valke argued that the tournament was a single round competition and therefore required only a two-match qualification period.
SARU Judicial Officer Rob Stelzner, SC, ruled that the competition was a single round tournament and that the Valke had not breached the regulations as Swart had fulfilled the appropriate qualification criteria. “In my view the First Division competition (as dealt with under its separate heading) is to be treated as a separate and distinct single round competition with the preceding Qualifying Round (separately dealt with under a different rule) being played in a similar and distinct single round format. In the circumstances the complaint is not upheld,” wrote Advocate Stelzner in his verdict.