Ricochet News

Aussies slam the inclusion of Southern Kings

By Marc Jacobson - Feb 18, 2016
Aussies slam the inclusion of Southern Kings

An Australian website forum, Foxsports.com.au, has predicted that the Southern Kings will slump in their return to Super Rugby this year.

The Kings, Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan are the three additions to Super Rugby this year – extending the tournament to 18 teams.

The build-up to the re-entry for the Kings, after last featuring in Super Rugby in 2013, has been a major retrogression in respect to three years ago with financial obligations continuously haunting the union.

This had resulted in the EP Rugby Union being unable to pay players’ salaries, which then forced the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to step in and contract the players.

In an attempt to get the Kings prepared for the daunting season ahead, SARU opted to appoint a new coach in Deon Davids, as well as the signing of new players.

The Kings squad, however, remains highly inexperienced with captain, Steven Sykes, occupying approximately 30% of the squad’s Super Rugby caps. He represented the Sharks 69 times, 15 times for the Kings in 2013 and 14 for the Cheetahs last season.

Due to these constraints, there is great scepticism from Foxsports for the re-entry of the union and predict that the Eastern Cape franchise will have a very long season ahead of them.

“The Southern Kings are returning to Super Rugby after a two-year absence and the performances of South African rugby’s political hot potato aren’t expected to be pretty,” the website wrote.

The Australian website noted that SARU has long pushed for the permanent inclusion of the Kings in Super Rugby, due to the “populous Eastern Cape being home to a large number of coloured and black people.”

“The 2016 expansion - also featuring Argentina and Japan - offered a lifeline for a return, even though the playing stocks in South Africa don’t support it,” stated the website.

The write-up in Foxsports understands the logic with regards to political motives, but however reiterates that the Kings are gearing up to be mere on-field slaves throughout the season.

“The franchise’s feeder, Eastern Province, were a rabble in the Currie Cup, with players, management and coaching staff not being paid on time.”

The Kings kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on February 27th.