The embattled Stormers and its parent, the Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU), stare a player and sponsor revolt squarely in the face should reported plans to promote Paul Treu come to fruition.
According to SuperSport.com, the franchise’s players called an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon, headed by Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi, to discuss a weekend report that the WPRU’s new executive were putting plans in place to replace director of rugby Gert Smal with Treu.
Rapport had quoted a source close to Treu, who claimed that the former Blitzboks coach actually enjoyed decent support from the majority of the Stormers’ playing group, which is not the case.
Kolisi and co are apparently very unhappy with that as an independent investigation by Bowman’s Attorneys confirmed that none of the players nor the Stormers’ coaching staff were found to have engaged in any discrimination towards Treu.
It’s understood the players are also miffed that the extent of the sanction against Treu was him merely being redeployed as a “performance director” and are allegedly close to demanding his removal by engaging in a strike.
The WPRU, which is in huge financial distress, also faces the added headache of main sponsor DHL entering into the fray.
The courier giant has allegedly given the union an ultimatum to get rid of Treu or they’ll withdraw their sponsorship.
The 47-year-old made headlines in July last year when he stormed out of a performance evaluation meeting following the Stormers’ poor 2018 campaign, where he said he was “tired of being treated poorly”.
Yet Bowman’s found no evidence.
Treu’s continued presence is said to be driven by new WPRU president, Zelt Marais, a Nedbank bigwig and advocate of financial austerity at the union.
Marais had controversially been elected on the ticket of sorting out the union’s finances, which included pay cuts for the players and instead an equity scheme where they would “own a stake” in the union.
With various top players’ contracts ending this year, the Stormers truly face the risk of an exodus.