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The Southern Kings are the South African team that replaced the Lions for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

Southern Kings Super Rugby History


The Southern Kings are a South African Rugby Union team that applied, but failed, to gain a place in Super Rugby from 2011 in a to-be-formed Australian conference in the Super 15.

In 2012 the Southern Kings replaced the last placed South African team the Lions for the 2013 season. At the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season the Southern Kings and the Lions will play each other to determine who plays in the 2014 Super Rugby season

The Southern Kings are often erroneously referred to as the Southern Spears as the Spears came from the same region and also attempted to join SuperRugby.

The Southern Spears, were a South African rugby union franchise who were originally founded in 2005 and were intended to participate in the Super 14 from 2007 onwards, however, their proposed entry into the competition led to considerable controversy within the country's rugby establishment.

In April 2006, after concerns over the franchise's financial stability and sporting competitiveness, the Spears were denied entry into the Super 14. Following this, the Southern Spears effectively ceased to exist.

The Southern Spears were at the time run by Tony McKeever and were coached by former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and played nine matches.

They lost to the Stormers, Lions & Cheetahs but played Kenya three times and won all three. They also played two matches against Namibia which they won and finally a match against EP which they also won.

Initially the Southern Kings suffered a similar fate as their entry into Super Rugby was blocked for two years before they replaced the Lions for the 2013 season.

The Southern Kings were formed in 2009 in time to coincide with the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. They played one match and lost 8-20.

On November 12, 2009, SANZAR arbitrators rejected their bid to join Super Rugby, awarding the 15th licence to the Melbourne Rebels.

The franchise was formally announced at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 16 2009.

The idea for the team was to develop rugby in the Eastern Cape but there were only two current Border Bulldogs in the team against the British and Irish Lions. There were also worries that the team would remain a one game wonder and fold much like its predecessors, the Southern Spears.

The Southern Kings franchise area would be made up of Eastern Cape, and parts of the Western Cape. They will draw players from 3 provincial unions, namely the Mighty Elephants, based in Port Elizabeth, Border Bulldogs, based in East London and Eagles, based in George. The Eagles represent the South Western Districts of South Africa, in the Western Cape. The Mighty Elephants represent the western half of the Eastern Cape, while the Border Bulldogs represent the eastern half of the Eastern Cape.

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