EDITORIAL | Bright future opens up for EP Rugby
After years of cash problems, poor results and nasty boardroom squabbling, it appears the EP Rugby Union has finally turned the corner.
A decision by EP rugby clubs to unanimously endorse a deal that will see a business consortium own a 74% stake in the Isuzu Southern Kings has been widely welcomed.
The R45m buyout bid was concluded on December 12 but was only ratified by clubs when the EP Rugby Union held its annual meeting in February.
Now the Kings PRO14 team will be run by a new board consisting of four consortium members, two EPRU members and three independent directors.
The entry of the consortium will benefit rugby across all platforms, including the Guinness PRO14 and EP’s senior and junior Currie Cup teams.
EP Rugby president Andre Rademan says the consortium will be a much-needed game-changer for the region.
Since Rademan’s new executive took over 22 months ago, the union has achieved financial stability after liquidation and administration. The boardroom turmoil also affected EP’s performance on the field.
In 24 matches played last season, the EP Currie Cup First Division side and the EP U21 and EP 19 teams lost every game they played.
All three teams finished bottom of their respective logs and left the once proud union embarrassed by a series of heavy defeats.
In six matches the EPU21 team leaked a massive 695 points, while the U19 side bled 851 points in 12 outings.
In the PRO14, the Kings have won only two of their 17 matches and are second from bottom on the log.
The consortium is expected to reveal how it plans to resurrect rugby in the region when it holds a “The Way Forward” gathering at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium next week. Importantly, it is expected that an academy will be formed to ensure that local talent is retained.
The old board is expected to be dissolved before the end of March as a new strategy to revive the team is rolled out.
After all the gloom and doom, the future looks bright.