Southern Kings board to find coach

Consortium spokesperson Loyiso Dotwana
Consortium spokesperson Loyiso Dotwana
Image: GEORGE BYRON

A new plan has been hatched to find a head coach for the Isuzu Southern Kings PRO14 team and it will be driven by their chair, Loyiso Dotwana, and his board.

On Friday, the Kings surprisingly aborted their original process to find a new man with their first warm-up against Georgia only weeks away.

In a statement to The Herald on Monday, Dotwana said: “We, as the Kings board, will head-hunt a coach.

“Any announcements in this regard will be made at the appropriate time.”

Earlier Dotwana said an initial quest to find a coach had been terminated because it had been undermined by a series of leaks and confusion around the World Rugby Level 3 certification.

In a stop-gap move, the Kings have appointed their high-performance director and former Springbok prop Robbi Kempson as their interim head coach.

Before the plug was pulled on the process it is believed that former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and New Zealander and current Somoan head coach Steve Jackson had been the frontrunners. The Kings’ first warm-up match for the new season is in Eastern Europe at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi against World Cup-bound Georgia on August 27.

In an interview with Sunday newspaper Rapport, Dotwana lifted the lid on the way forward for his franchise.

“What will happen now is that I will drive the process myself,” he told Rapport.

“We are now going to look for the new coach.

“Our biggest challenge now is that many of the top coaches we are looking at are contracted by either PRO14, Super Rugby or international teams.

“We decided that Robbi would coach the team until we find the right candidate.

“We did not set a deadline because we realised we needed to find the right coach for the Kings and not just any coach.

“We are not going to be in a hurry.

“We are now going to regroup as a management team and look at the situation again.

“I am not saying that they [Jackson and De Villiers] are no longer in the picture, but the process will be different in the future.

“The next announcement will be when we appoint someone – so far it was just a media circus.”

The original panel named to appoint the coach was Dotwana (chair), Kempson (director of high performance), Odwa Mtati (enterprise development specialist), Makhaya Jack (EPRU board member), Kaunda Ntunja (SuperSport rugby commentator and former Junior Springbok captain), Anthony Heugh (world rugby coaching educator) and Glen Zamisa (HR specialist).

On Thursday, Dotwana said no panellists had pulled out of the interviewing process.

“Members of the interviewing panel were requested to rank the candidates according to their preference,” he said.

“One of the five panellists, Anthony Heugh, declined to participate in the ranking as he felt that the required World Rugby Level 3 qualification was the absolute minimum requirement if the franchise wants to operate in a high performance environment, and his suggestion was that the process be started all over again.

“Unfortunately, time was not on our side with the season close to commencing, and it was not possible to restart the entire process.”

That statement was made the day before the panel was aborted.

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