Is Davids set for axe at Kings?
Owners may be hunting for new coach ahead of PRO14 campaign
Deon Davids’ days as head coach of the battling Isuzu Southern Kings appear to numbered as the team’s new owners look to bring in fresh blood to rejuvenate the ailing side.
Insiders said there were plans on the table to remove Davids and at least 20 players before the new Guinness PRO14 season kicks off in September.
The owners, under chairman Loyiso Dotwana, were said to be holding a board meeting on Monday where Davids’ future would come under the spotlight.
Davids, who has been forced to work under difficult circumstances for several seasons in Super Rugby and PRO14, has a poor record in the European competition.
There are also plans to clear the decks of players deemed to be surplus to requirement and replace them with new talent capable of putting up a better fight.
Highly rated Irish lock Jerry Sexton and utility back Courtney Winnaar have already been signed, and a flood of new arrivals are expected in the weeks ahead.
While Davids has been in charge of the Kings, they have only been able to win only three of the 42 PRO14 matches they played.
If Davids is released, it would signal an about turn by the owners who had previously suggested that the coach would be given another season.
At the launch of the team under new ownership, Dotwana said Davids would remain as head coach, with his contract set to run until May 2020.
It remains unclear who would take over from Davids is the owners decide on a new man to plot the way forward.
One name that has been linked to a move to Port Elizabeth, is Sean Everitt who has been involved in the coaching structures at the Sharks for several seasons.
The Kings owners have been keeping a low profile in recent months, and there has been little news of new signings during the off season to bolster the team.
After his team’s final match of the season against the Cheetahs, Davids spoke of some of his frustrations at the franchise.
Denied a proper preseason in the past, the Kings have always been on the back foot which forced them to play catch-up against their rivals.
“If you do not have a preseason, you don’t have a chance to look at the players before you go into a campaign,” Davids said.
“For the past two years, we were not in that position. It has all been documented. This year we started our campaign with 13 players two weeks before the tournament started.
“We were lucky to have 25 players available when we flew on the plane to Italy for our opening game against Zebre.
“When you start like that you learn combinations and you are forced to build a culture as you go along. So for us it was always a catch-up situation and that makes it very difficult.
“It was not only difficult for the players on the field, but also for the coaching and support staff because we lost quality people during the off-season.
“I believe if you have a good foundation and your recruitment is in place and you have a set venue and identity from where you operate, your culture will improve.”