The HeraldLIVE website reported on Wednesday that the balance of power may be swinging against Watson after claims that 31 clubs filed a motion of no confidence in him ahead of the union’s annual general meeting on Thursday.
However, a reliable source in the Eastern Province club structures told Rugby365 that the number of anti-Watson clubs has since risen to more than 50 percent of the 119 clubs.
Only 20% of them (about 23 clubs) are needed to have a vote of no confidence tabled, according to the EPRU constitution.
With so many clubs throwing their weight behind the motion, the rugby specialist website's source also confirmed that Watson has offered some clubs up to R30 000 to distance themselves from the motion.
Under Watson as president, the EP Rugby Union plunged into a financial crisis last year, with the union unable to pay players’ salaries.
Watson had promised a R200m sponsorship for the Kings but this failed to materialise, with players forced to accept food vouchers following the non-payment of salaries.
It led to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) stepping in to take control of the union’s Super Rugby franchise, the Southern Kings.
The Kings open their Super Rugby campaign at home against the Sharks on Saturday (15:00 kick-off).