Kings may lose crown

Public invited to have say as embattled franchise looks for image change

Andre Rademan
Andre Rademan
Image: George Byron

Rugby fans have been given an opportunity to decide whether the Southern Kings’ name should be kicked into touch or retained before the new PRO14 season kicks off in September.

Since their inception in 2009 with a game against the British and Irish Lions, the Kings have endured a turbulent history on and off the field.

Now EP president and Southern Kings chairman Andre Rademan and his executive are keen on an image change for the PRO14 side who could win only one of their 21 matches this season.

Supporters have been urged to e-mail the EP Rugby Union on whether they want the name to be ditched and to also suggest a new one.

“Rugby belongs to the people and we will go with them on this,” Rademan said.

“It is no use us sitting in a boardroom taking a decision and the public does not like it.”

The public can e-mail EP Rugby official Amie Kuhn at (for the attention of Nadia Njomba) with their views.

In the e-mail they must indicate whether they are in favour of a name change, and if so, what they would like the new name to be. The deadline is May 17. “There are a lot rumours going around about a name change for the Southern Kings,” Rademan said.

“The EP Rugby Union executive has already decided that the name must change.

“We have dealt with SA Rugby and there is no problem from their side.

“The executive thought it was a good idea, but it is not easy just changing a name.

“There are different stakeholders and role-players involved,

“We are going to run a poll with the public. Firstly, do they want the name changed and secondly what would they like the new name to be?

“The moment that is sorted out we can take it back to the EP executive and SA Rugby for final approval. “We will also consult the PRO14 board.

“There is a timeframe involved because we are kicking off the new PRO14 season in September and there will be a lot administrative work involved in changing the name.

“If the majority want a change then they will also decide on the new title.

“But if the majority say no, then [the name] will stay the same.”

Rademan said he would like a name change for a number of reasons

There is a lot of baggage around this name.

“There is a lot of baggage around this name. When you speak to sponsors there is a lot of negativity around the Kings.

“That is why the executive felt it must change. But that is the feeling of the executive and it is not what it is going to be.

“We will hear what the supporters and public have to say. We live in Mandela Bay and the name Mandela is a worldwide icon. The public have so many good ideas and maybe they will come up with an excellent name and we can change it to that.”

Since the appointment of a new EP Rugby executive under Rademan, there has been a swing to move away from the Kings brand which was tarnished during the financial troubles that crippled the union.

The EP Kings have already reverted back to the EP Elephants for the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup tournaments.

The new EP hierarchy are keen to reposition themselves in the rugby world and a name change would be a huge step in that direction.