Opportunity for Kings to move forward
SA rugby have shown they are serious about putting the Southern Kings back on track by deploying seasoned administrators Monde Tabata and Jannie Louw to help sort out problems.
After the Kings’ previous owner, The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (GRC), failed to meet contractual commitments, SA Rugby stepped in quickly to take control.
The GRC had clearly hit a brick wall and were unable to advance the franchise’s progress by bringing in exciting new talent and a head coach.
Under the GRC’s tenure, the franchise had been marking time and lacked impetus and direction.
If any lingering problems were allowed to fester, the long-term prospects of the struggling PRO14 franchise would have been bleak.
Adding to the Kings’ problems are suggestions that title sponsor Isuzu will pull the plug on its annual R10m sponsorship deal.
The arrival of experienced SA Rugby executive members Tabata and Louw is a huge step in putting the embattled Bay franchise back on an even keel.
The new board will be chaired by EPRU president Andre Rademan, while Mbulelo Gidane (EPRU finance and human resources chair) will sit alongside him.
The fifth member of the board is independent member Gugu Nxiweni, who has been retained from the previous Kings board.
It is a high-powered board and they will face huge challenges in the weeks ahead as they bid to win back the confidence of disgruntled rugby supporters.
SA Rugby are now firmly in the driving seat and have assumed day-to-day running of the PRO14 franchise.
Apart from problem solving in the boardroom, SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will support Kings interim head coach Robbi Kempson in their return-to-play preparations.
Tabata, a retired former corporate executive, has been credited with helping to get EP rugby back on its feet after problems the union experienced in 2016 during the Cheeky Watson era.
Because of his problem-solving capabilities, Tabata is referred to as “Mr Fixit” in rugby circles.
Louw recently joined the SA Rugby executive committee after a stint as president of the Griqualand West Rugby Union.
By appointing a new board with such haste, SA Rugby have taken a step in the right direction.
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