Super Rugby side aiming to get down to training next month
The Southern Kings will not be hindered by a late start to their Super Rugby preparations this yeasr and the squad are scheduled to get stuck into their pre-season training early next month.
This was the promise made by SA Rugby official Monde Tabata, who has been appointed administrator of EP Rugby after the union was hit by a cash crisis.
Last season, the Kings started assembling their Super Rugby squad only in January and lost valuable training and conditioning time.
In Super Rugby, the Kings could win only two of the 15 matches they played, while the EP Kings lost all eight of their Currie Cup matches.
“The plan is for the season to start at the same time as all the other franchises, unlike what happened in preparation for 2016,” Tabata said.
“I am sure at an appropriate time the developments will be unveiled regarding coaches and players.”
There is much speculation about which players will be contracted and it is said that Kings head coach Deon Davids has his eyes on a few Griquas players to bolster his team’s ranks.
Even though the Kings fared miserably in the Currie Cup, some players from that squad are likely to be awarded Super Rugby contracts.
Barend Pieterse, who was appointed head coach of the EP Kings at the last minute, will be the Southern Kings’ forward coach in Super Rugby.
“Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids and the guys have started talking about players that we all wish and hope we could have for Super Rugby, ” Pieterse said.
“The planning done so far is about when we want to start our training and what we want to achieve in the off season and that sort of stuff.”
“At the moment, there is nothing set in stone about when we will start. Hopefully, in a perfect world, that would be in early November.”
It is unclear which EP Currie Cup players are in line for Super Rugby contracts.
Fullback Johann Tromp, who represented Namibia at the World Cup, could be one who Davids feels can rise to the challenge of playing Super Rugby.
Much will also depend on how much money SA Rugby allocate to the franchise which they took over after the cash crisis hit last year.
There is also the question of who will replace Mzwandile Stick as the Kings’ backline coach after he was promoted to the Springbok coaching staff.
One option may be to appoint Vuyo Zangqa, who was the EP Kings’ backline coach in the Currie Cup. Shortly after he arrived at the Kings, Zangqa said:
“I am very excited about this challenge and I am grateful to SA Rugby for giving me this opportunity. “If a job opportunity comes up for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby I will definitely accept it.”
“We will have to just wait to see what happens with SA rugby.”
The Southern Kings fixtures for next year: February 25: v Jaguares in PE; March 4: v Sunwolves in Singapore; March 11: v Stormers in PE; March 18: v Sharks in Durban; March 25: v Lions in PE; April 9: v Force in Perth; April 15: v Reds in Brisbane; April 22: v Waratahs in Sydney; April 29: v Rebels in PE; May 13: v Sharks in PE; May 20: v Brumbies in PE; May 28: v Lions in Johannesburg; June 30: v Jaguares in Beunos Aires; July 8: v Bulls in Pretoria; July 14: v Cheetahs in PE.