Marais: Kings crisis not the players’ fault

BY MARC JACOBSON - MARCH 2, 2016

The Super Rugby season already looks as though it will be a long campaign for the Southern Kings and Coach Deon Davids following their 43-8 thumping by the Sharks.

The Kings started strong against the men from Durban, striking first blood with a try in the first several minutes of the game by flanker, Chris Cloete. However, that resulted in being the Kings only try of the match and their last blow to the Sharks prospects, as the visitors uprooted the home-side - scoring six tries to one.

The campaign does not get any easier for the Kings following their bye this weekend, as they face former champions, Chiefs at home next week. They then go on tour with away games in New Zealand against the Crusaders and last year finalists, the Hurricanes.

Financial obligations have continued to plague the union in recent months and had hindered the squad’s pre-season preparations significantly. This had resulted in players not receiving salaries since as long as September last year, which had then forced the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to contract the Kings Super Rugby squad.

This squad was then only assembled in January, only a month before the Super Rugby started.

Former Sharks fullback and an anticipated new Kings recruit as from the beginning of November, SP Marais, was not given a contract from SARU and has since cancelled his contract with the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU).

Marais told Sport24 that the respective troubles facing the franchise this season, were not at all the fault of the players on the field.

"You can’t blame the players. This whole thing comes from up above. I don’t think they’re 100% prepared. They didn’t have enough time ... they only started in January." Marais said.

"I personally think they will do well the first three of four games but from there fatigue will kick in because they didn’t have an off-season whatsoever," he said.

Marais then encouraged the local Port Elizabeth support-base to get behind the players in order to sympathize with them moving forward.

"The people will probably jump off the bandwagon and crucify the players, but the players had nothing to do with it," he added.

Image: From left, SP Marais alongside former Southern Kings Coach, Alan Solomons.