Southern Kings

Southern Kings already struggling in Super rugby




Super Rugby newcomers the Southern Kings have taken the surprising move of asking the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to allow them to play more than two foreign players.

The Kings are a development Super Rugby side created to develop predominantly black talent in the Eastern Cape and have been included in the 2013 season at the expense of the Lions.

The Kings have already announced the signings of Andries Straus, Steven Sykes and Demetri Catrakilis and have tried to sign several Lions players but they were all rejected.

Southern Kings Boss Cheeky Watson – who’s son Luke will captain the team – has revealed that they are in talks with nine more players for next season.

The current SA Rugby rules only permit Super Rugby teams to field two foreign players but Watson has told Eyewitness News that they have asked for special arrangements to be made to allow them to sign more foreign players.

When the Melbourne Rebels were formed over the 2009 and 2012 seasons the Australian Rugby Union increased the number of foreign players they were allowed to field from 2 to 10 and the Kings was SARU to allow them a similar break in the rules.

The move comes as a surprise as the Kings were created to develop and keep local Eastern Cape talent in the Province.

“It’s not a definite. That’s why I say there are nine players (both foreign and South African).” Watson told Eyewitness news.

“First choice is obviously a South African born and bred player, and we’re going to reassess the situation as we go along”.

The Kings have also released a statement which explains that they are struggling to get players to sign with them as they are “contracting in an abnormal environment.”

In the statement the the Kings said that the, “uncertainty and delay of the announcement of the Southern Kings’ participation meant that many players were reluctant to sign their names of the dotted line. “

The Kings have stated that there are several reasons that are preventing them from signing new players :-

-The European window period for recruiting players being closed (with the only available players being those out of contracts)- interested South African players are only available in May 2013, by which time we’ll be too deep into the competition
– The delayed announcement has seen many local players whose contracts expired this year renew their contracts
– The Lions refusing to entertain our request to loan us players for the 2013 Super Rugby campaign
– The one-year entry into Super Rugby and without a track record, has impacted our ability to recruit players

“It is in light of the above, that we have had to embark on the route of recruiting players in an abnormal manner, and with our desire and aspirations of having long-term participation in Super Rugby we are requesting SARU to extend/ alter the current ruling of only fielding two foreign players, for a short-term, thus allowing us the time to adequately prepare our young players for the demands and pressures of Super Rugby, as well as giving us the opportunity to contract players in a normal manner going into the future.

“It is important that we field quality players who will be able to see us through the 2013 Super Rugby competition, and with the current plethora of challenges facing us we have no alternative but to make this urgent request to SARU.”

“We have been very vocal about our desires to develop and promote local talent, and in particular to accelerate the transformation of South African Rugby and to develop quality black Springboks.

“We have a number of players in the Academy who will be part of the Super Rugby squad for 2013.”

“Soyiswapi Siviwe (15) Yamkela Ngam (14) Kuhle Sonkosi (4) Lizo Gqoboka (3/1), Thembelani Bholi (6) and Shane Gates (12) have all been identified by our Management team (who all have Super Rugby and international experience) as players who have the technique, acumen and physical characteristics to become quality Super Rugby players.”

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