Western Province will have to do it the hard way to qualify for the Absa Currie Cup semifinals in their match against the Xerox Lions at Newlands in Saturday.

That is the result of the outcome of the South African Rugby Union’s judicial hearing relating to complaints by the Eagles Rugby (Pty) Ltd and Western Province Rugby that the Griffons and the Free State Cheetahs fielded ineligible players in the Currie Cup First Division and Currie Cup Premier Division respectively.

That means that WP must beat the Lions by 19 points or more on Saturday, earn a bonus point and deny the Lions one in the very last match in the 2008 Currie Cup league phase. It also ends the Eagles’ dream of playing in the Currie Cup Premier Division last year as they will no longer leapfrog the Griffons on the log for the promotion/relegation play-offs later this month.

The Griffons, like WP, would have lost log points last weekend for fielding what they perceived to be ineligible players if their complaint had been upheld. The Free State Cheetahs had done their homework well when they enquired in July whether players loaned to unions in the First Division would be allowed to play for their union of origin in the Premier Division if needed.

This was the crux of the judicial finding. In interpreting the contents of Regulation 7.5 read together with the e-mail correspondence dated July 3, 2008 and forwarded by the manager: legal of Saru to the Free State Cheetahs, the appointed judicial officer Dekker Govender on Friday ruled that he is satisfied there has been no breach in this respect by either the Griffons or the Free State Cheetahs.

Earlier this week Saru received a complaint from the Eagles Rugby (Pty) Ltd in terms of Regulation 7.5 of SARU Regulations for Player Status, Player Contracts and Player Movement.

The Eagles complained that Hennie Daniller played for the Free State Cheetahs against the Falcons on the evening of September 26 in a Currie Cup First Division fixture. They said that as a result of the abovementioned player movement that there has been a breach of Regulation 7.5. WP Rugby also lodged a complaint against the Free State Cheetahs emanating out of the same incident in terms of the said Regulation.

In addition WP Rugby had also lodged a complaint that the Free State Cheetahs breached Regulation 7.5 by fielding the following players that played for the Griffons this season on diverse occasions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Hendrik Meyer, Jandre Blom and Ashley Johnson. On perusing the content of Regulation 7.5, the judicial officer ruled that he is satisfied that although the players mentioned played for both provinces during 2008 season thus far, neither province participated in the same competition.

The Cheetahs were at all material times participating in the Currie Cup Premier Division whereas the Griffons were playing in the Absa Currie Cup First Division. Due to this regulation lending itself to abuse, the judicial officer recommends a cooling off period of for two weeks before a player becomes eligible to play for his new province and visa versa.