Editorial | New owners must put EP back on map
Now that the newly elected Isuzu Southern Kings board has begun operations, it has become clear it means business in putting Eastern Cape rugby back on its feet.
After months of speculation, SA Rugby announced that it had sold a 74% shareholding in SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the Kings’ holding company, to a company called The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC).
The company owners are prominent Eastern Cape business people Loyiso Dotwana, Gary Markson, Rory Stear, Kenny Govender and Vuyo Zitumane.
An integral component in the Kings’ revival will be the creation of a high performance academy which is expected to be based at Nelson Mandela University.
Newly elected Kings chairman Dotwana says this will be a factory designed to churn out talented young players to help the battling Kings prosper in the Guinness PRO14.
The Kings have struggled to stay afloat in the Europeanbased league and an influx of new talent is urgently required.
There are high hopes that once the new academy is on its feet, it will stop the haemorrhaging of the regions’s best young talent to rival unions.
It has been decided that former Springbok prop Robbi Kempson is the man with the attributes needed to oversee the coaching structures and establish the academy.
Kempson, who played 37 Tests for the Springboks, said he would continue to work under Kings head coach Deon Davids as an assistant coach for the PRO14 team.
Dotwana has promised that the franchise – which is the first black-owned one in the country – would be run along key business principles.
SA Rugby took control of the Kings in November 2015 when the EPRU, to which the operation of the franchise had been granted, ran into financial trouble.
Now the ball is in the hands of the ambitious new owners, they must run with it and put the region back on the map.