Kings get injection of firepower
Basson and Beyers set to join PRO14 effort
Former Springbok wing Bjorn Basson and bustling Bulls centre Ulrich Beyers have been signed to add extra punch to the Southern Kings backline ahead of the new PRO14 season.
There could also be more good news on the way for the Kings when they hold a special announcement briefing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Though Kings chief operating officer Charl Crous would not reveal what the announcement was about, it is expected the PRO14 team will announce a new sponsor and unveil their new playing strip.
The acquisition of Basson and Beyers was revealed by Crous, who said the explosive duo would be a big boost to the team.
“We all know Bjorn is a fine player and Ulrich is big and bustling. We are very happy to have signed them,” Crous said.
Last season, the Kings fared dismally in their debut PRO14, winning only one of their 21 matches.
This time they are desperate to fare better, though their preparations have been far from ideal.
The signing of Basson and Beyers will bring relief for
Kings coach Deon Davids, who has been unable to play warmup matches because of his small squad.
Fears of injuries to the depleted squad forced the Kings to cancel a proposed contact session against the Border Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Kings had been hoping to prepare for their opening PRO14 match against Zebre on September 1 with a tough workout against the Currie Cup First Division outfit.
At one stage, player recruitment at the Kings stalled, and this left Davids with 27 players to work with in training.
Of that skeleton squad, 10 are busy with rehabilitation and some have niggles.
The signing of Basson, 31, from French team Oyonnax will give Davids options at fullback and wing.
Basson, who played 11 Tests for the Springboks, is a widely travelled player who has valuable experience of playing in European conditions.
He was selected for the tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2010 and made his debut against Wales in Cardiff.Born in King William’s Town, Basson represented the Border U19 side in 2005 and 2006, before moving to Kimberley to join the Griquas.
As a Griquas player, Basson could also play Super Rugby for the Cheetahs and was included in the Free State side in the 2009 Super 14 season, scoring one try in five appearances.
Basson then signed a twoyear contract with the Blue Bulls and made 26 appearances for them.
In 2011, Basson was the joint top try scorer in Super Rugby season with 11 tries for the Pretoria side.
In 2017, the flying wing made six appearances in Super Rugby for the Stormers before leaving for Oyonnax.
Beyers also has European experience and has played in France and Italy.
He played for the Pretoriabased Blue Bulls between 2011 and 2014, making 34 appearances in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup competitions.
Beyers also made 10 appearances for the Bulls Super Rugby side.
At the start of 2015, he joined French Top 14 side Bordeaux on a short-term contract.
The 27-year-old later moved to Zebre and played 15 games for the Italian outfit.
Apart from Basson and Beyers, the other confirmed new Kings signings are locks JC Astle and Schalk Oelofse, and scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius.
It is believed more players have already been lined up if the new sponsor comes on board.