Many reasons why franchise should not be axed, says coach
It will be a setback for the Eastern Cape and rugby development in the region if the Southern Kings are cut from Super Rugby next year, concerned head coach Deon Davids says. The axing of the Kings appeared to move a step closer when Sanzaar announced it would be trimming Super Rugby to 15 teams next year and South Africa’s participation would be cut from six to four teams.
Though the Kings and Cheetahs were not named as the franchises set to drop out, it is widely believed the axe will fall on them.
Cheetahs captain Francois Venter has said it is time South African players stand together against the Sanzaar decision.
“The players were not spoken to about this decision. We must not just accept things that are told to us,” Venter said.
SA Rugby said it would now begin internal consultations to identify its four entrants to the 2018 competition and that the reduction was a bitter pill to swallow.
Officials said it was hoped that SA Rugby would be able to confirm its Super Rugby participants by the end of June.
Asked why the Kings should keep their Super Rugby status, Davids said: “The franchise has got a lot of potential. I think the future of South African rugby lies in the Eastern Cape.
“There are some good schools, the academy has produced some excellent players in the past few years and the Eastern Cape has produced some excellent Springboks.
“If you look at these players, if some of them can play together in a highperformance structure for three to five years I think they will be able to produce a lot.
“Also, if you look at facilities from a business perspective, there are a lot of opportunities that the region has and maybe if we can put proper systems in place and have proper financial support to build sustainability, it will help a lot.
“It would be a setback for the region. I believe from a school perspective we would still produce a lot of good players, but obviously they will play rugby in other regions. “We must wait and see. “I don’t want to talk outside of the position that I am in.
“There is a lot of talent in the Eastern Cape and they can play at national level if they get the right support.
“We understand the thought process behind the decision.”
The Kings have won only one of the six matches they have played this season.
New EP Rugby Union president Andre Rademan has said he would fight to keep the Kings in Super Rugby.
“We really feel let down. We feel we should have been consulted around the reduction in competing teams,” Rademan said.
On Saturday, the Kings play the second match of their Australian tour, against the Reds in Brisbane (kickoff 7.05am).
In their last game, the Kings slipped to a narrow 46-41 defeat against the Western Force in a 12-try thriller.