Kings need ammo – Jurie Roux
A rugby boss Jurie Roux wants the new owners of the Isuzu Southern Kings to give the franchise the ammunition they need to grow into a force in the Guinness PRO14.
After months of speculation, SA Rugby announced on Friday that they had sold a 74% shareholding in SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the Isuzu Southern Kings’ holding company, to a company called The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC).
The Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) has acquired the balance of 26% of the shares.
“We are delighted to have concluded the sale,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said.
“The GRC are made up of committed local individuals who have the growth of rugby and the success of the Kings at heart.
“They are intimately involved in the commercial activities of the Eastern Cape and understand the potential of the region.
“This is a very significant and important development for the Kings.
“We look forward to GRC and the local community giving the Southern Kings the ammunition to grow into the rugby force we know they can be.”
The deal was recently completed following the conclusion of agreement on the commercial terms.
SA Rugby had taken control of the Isuzu Southern Kings in November 2015 when the EPRU, to whom the operation of the franchise had been granted, ran into financial trouble.
The owners of GRC are Eastern Cape businesspeople Loyiso Dotwana, Gary Markson, Rory Stear, Kenny Govender and Vuyo Zitumane.
Dotwana, head of the consortium, said: “We have followed a rigorous process to take control of the franchise, but we have been single minded throughout – that bringing ownership of the Southern Kings into local hands will be good for the team and good for the region.
“We are rugby people who understand the Eastern Cape, the passion of the people for rugby and just how much a successful I Kings team would mean to this region. We are focused and determined to deliver that success.”
In a new move, the Kings PRO14 team will be run by a board consisting of four consortium members, two EPRU members and three independent directors.
EP Rugby president Andre Rademan said the fact that the EPRU was a shareholder would ensure continuity for rugby in the region.
“It is essential that the continuum between school, club, provincial and franchise rugby remains open and this new arrangement assures that,” he said.
“It has been a challenging three years for rugby in the Eastern Cape, but the establishment of a new EPRU board and now the local acquisition of the Southern Kings franchise means that we can look to the future with real excitement and anticipation,” Rademan said.
The consortium will celebrate ownership of the Kings with a gathering named “The Way Forward” at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday.
The Kings have a bye this weekend before travelling to Ireland to face Ulster on March 23.