Western Province’s official complaint to the SA Rugby Union (Saru) that points be docked from the Free State Cheetahs for fielding a player contrary to the Currie Cup regulations could falter on the official confirmation the Free State side had received from Saru.

WP’s complaint stems from the Cheetahs’ use of utility back Hennie Daniller who played for the Cheetahs against the Valke on Friday night and then represented the Griffons team that beat the SWD Eagles the following day.

The Eagles have also lodged a complaint. The two unions contend this is an abuse of the loan system in which Currie Cup (Premier Division) teams can make available players to First Division sides, and WP have requested the Cheetahs be docked the five match points from the Valke match, while the Eagles have requested the same from their lost match to the Griffons.

Both the complainants will benefit hugely, with WP then much closer to a Currie Cup semifinal and the Eagles assured of a berth for the promotion/relegation play-off later this month.

However, the Cheetahs on July 3 received confirmation from Saru that players may indeed move between the two divisions which are in fact two different competitions. But where a player is “loaned” by a Premier Division union from another Premier Division union, he will not be allowed back to his original side. It is the frequency with which players are allowed to move between these teams that is being questioned by the WP and Eagles – but the Cheetahs contend that this has happened only on this one occasion which they feel can hardly be termed “frequently” or an abuse of the system.

In fact, Daniller was on the bench in the very first Premier Division Currie Cup match the Cheetahs played against their neighbours Griquas on June 20 – and didn’t even take the field, according to SA Rugby’s website records.

The complaint by WP seems to be in retribution for the insistence by the Free State side that the WP match against the Kavaliers last Saturday could not be moved to Newlands and that the correct protocol and adherence to regulations should be followed. That resulted in the game being played in the Wellington mud bath and as a result WP failed to get a much needed bonus point, which would have given them an edge in the play-off race.

However, the Cheetahs point out that all the other teams in the Premier Division had to play at Boland Park in Wellington – some of them in even worse conditions than WP had to contend with. As things now stand, WP have to beat the Lions by 19 points or more at Newlands, earn a bonus point and prevent the Lions from getting one.

Should their complaint be upheld by Saru and the Cheetahs be docked five log points, WP will need only one bonus point from their final league match against the Lions on Saturday to advance at the expense of the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs now have 37 log points which would be cut to 32 if the complaint is upheld, but could get back to 37 against the Kavaliers in Bloemfontein on Saturday. WP, now on 36, will also move to 37 if they get the bonus point referred to above and will have a much better points differential if the Cheetah’s 71-point win over the Valke is disallowed. The Eagles and Griffons have been locked in a battle for a top-two finish in the First Division, which carries with it the chance to play in a promotion/relegation series to advance to the Currie Cup Premier Division next year.

If the Griffons are docked points, the Eagles will advance to the promotion/relegation series.

Saru Chief Executive Johan Prinsloo confirmed that the matter was receiving “urgent” attention. Saru expect a response from the Cheetahs on Wednesday after which a ruling will be made.