Editorial: Up to home fans to help Kings win

Everybody loves a winner and the Southern Kings will want to impress again when they face the Sharks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Wins over the Waratahs and Rebels in their previous games have stoked the fires of support, and more than 20 000 fans are expected at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

With a big crowd behind them, the Kings will be looking to make history by beating South African opposition in Super Rugby for the first time.

Kings coach Deon Davids said better crowd support would bring a new energy and drive to his team.

Not only can a massive turnout help the Kings to victory, it could also keep the team in Super Rugby next season.

South African rugby chiefs have decided to cut two of the six South African franchises and the Kings and Cheetahs are the teams facing the axe.

But, even though the odds are stacked heavily against them, both of the unions have said they will fight tooth and nail to keep their coveted status.

The fate of South Africa’s Super Rugby teams will be decided by a new franchise committee, which was established by Saru to streamline and professionalise the running of the game.

The agreed main criteria are financial, economic and support-base sustainability, team performance and stadium facilities.

When one examines these criteria closely, it becomes clear how important attracting good crowds and achieving winnings results is going to be when the franchise committee sits to make its decision.

So far, the Kings have not been drawing big crowds to their home matches, but their sudden resurgence is expected to lead to a dramatic spike.

When the Kings made their debut in Super Rugby in 2013, more than a quarter of a million fans watched their home games.

In that season a staggering 43 000 watched the Kings take on the Sharks during a memorable campaign.

That spirit looks set to be rekindled this coming Saturday and a #fillthestadium campaign has added to the rugby fever prevailing in the Bay this week.

A Kings win in front of a big crowd would go some way to proving that they deserve to stay in Super Rugby next season.

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