Kings may be chasing Cheetahs
Manjezi and Pokomela said to be in sights of struggling franchise
Though the Isuzu Southern Kings shopping list remains a closely guarded secret, the names of rampaging Cheetahs loose forwards Sintu Manjezi and Junior Pokomela are said to be pencilled in close to the top of the page.
Both are graduates of successful EP Academy which was run by the current Kings director of high performance Robbi Kempson and have prospered since leaving Port Elizabeth.
Apart from their playing ability, both are highly regarded as leaders and may be viewed as a potential Kings skipper down the line.
Manjezi and Pokomela, if they return to Port Elizabeth, would be a valuable acquisitions for the Kings who are aiming to become a force to be reckoned with in the Guinness PRO14.
Manjezi, 24, played rugby for his secondary school, St Andrew's College in Grahamstown, turning out for the first team between 2011 and 2013 and captaining the side in 2013.
He earned his first provincial selection in 2011, when he represented EP at the U16 Grant Khomo Week held in Queenstown.
After the tournament, Manjezi was included in a South African U16 high performance squad.
Manjezi was among a number of youngsters that were promoted to the EP squad that competed in the 2016 Currie Cup qualification series.
In July, Manjezi was drafted into the Southern Kings Super Rugby squad and named on the bench for their match against the Lions.
Pokomela, 22, earned his first provincial selection in 2012, when he represented EP at the U16 Grant Khomo Week held in Johannesburg, starting all three of their matches in the tournament.
In 2014, Pokomela was selected to represent EP at the U18 Craven Week, and at the conclusion of the tournament, Pokomela was included in a South Africa Schools squad.
In 2015, Pokomela joined the EP academy and was included in the EP U19 squad that participated in Group A of the 2015 U19 Provincial Championship.
He immediately established himself as the first choice No 8 for the team, starting all 14 of their matches during the competition.
In 2015, Pokomela was included on a list of 20 players released by the South African Rugby Union that would be part of the Kings squad for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
In March 2016, Pokomela was included in a South Africa U20 training squad, and made the cut to be named in a reduced provisional squad a week later.
He was included, as vice-captain, in the final squad for the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship tournament which held in Manchester, England.
Meanwhile, Kings have announced that wing Yaw Penxe, loose-forward CJ Velleman, hooker Tango Balekile and centre Sibusiso Sithole have all committed their futures to the franchise.
Kempson expressed his excitement at the contract renewals of the four players.
“We are pleased that Yaw Penxe, CJ Velleman, Tango Balekile and Sbura Sithole have committed to staying and being a part of the exciting squad that we are building for the future,” Kempson said.
“These are quality players who have proven their worth in the Kings jersey. We look forward to their continued growth, commitment and dedication towards a competitive team.
”Kempson said negotiations with other players for contract renewals and recruitment of new personnel are still in progress, and further developments will be announced in due course.