Southern Kings

Southern Kings will be ready for Super Rugby




Southern Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons says that his organisation will be ready for Super Rugby if they are included in the 2013 tournament.

The Kings have been promised inclusion in Super Rugby from next season but South African Rugby bosses still don’t know how they will go about achieving this.

“We will be ready. We will be good to go and we will be competiive,” Solomons told the Cape Times this week.

Solomons says that the Eastern Cape franchise will be better prepared to join Super Rugby as unlike Super Rugby recent additions in Australia the Force and more recently the Rebels, the Kings have a foundation of rugby culture.

Rugby in the greater East London and Port Elizabeth regions that will make up the Southern Kings has been neglected in the past and when former Springbok assistant coach Solomons was recruited by Eastern Province president Cheeky Watson to help him revitalise the sport, Solomons was confronted with a desolate landscape.

“Prior to Cheeky becoming involved in November 2008, the rugby in the region had deteriorated over time, which was understandable because neither Eastern Province or Border had been part of Super Rugby, apart from a short period with the Sharks in the late ’90s,” Solomons points out.

“There was no professional rugby and no Currie Cup Premier rugby, but all the time that senior rugby was regressing, schools rugby remained very strong, as it is today.”

“The feeder system has always been there, but there was nowhere local for top players to go, so they moved on to the glamour provinces in this country,” he says.

Watson says that with their new partners the Kings will not be short of money and that they plan to bring back top rugby players from Europe and other South African Super Rugby franchises

“We recently counted 37 Eastern Cape players on duty in the five Super Rugby squads. Take the Sharks for instance. Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Steven Sykes, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane and Tim Whitehead are from the Eastern Cape.

“At the Bulls, off the top of my head are Jacques and Dewald Potgieter, Akona Ndungane and CJ Stander.”

Watson admitted that buying a team for the 2013 Super Rugby season was not ideal, but was necessary in the short term.

“That is the hand we have been initially dealt because we have not had professional rugby, but that will change. “

“Ideally, you want to produce your own team and grow from within, and when you see how our talent is flourishing for other teams, the long-term future of the Kings is guaranteed because our schoolboy stars now will mostly choose to stay at home.”

Solomons sayid that “eyebrows will be raised” when their Super Rugby signings are confirmed for next season.

“We are working extremely hard behind the scenes. Our structures are in place, the top players will now start coming and we have the resources in the long term to build from within.

“Like I say, we will be ready and we will surprise a lot of people.”

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