Eastern Cape, Kings 'future of SA rugby'
Port Elizabeth - Kings coach Deon Davids has motivated for the franchise to keep its Super Rugby status in 2018, saying that the future of South African rugby lies in the Eastern Cape.
Davids was addressing media in Perth following his side's 46-41 loss to the Force on Sunday.
It was during that post-match press conference that news broke of SANZAAR's announcement to cut two South African teams and one Australian team from the 2018 tournament.
The Kings and the Cheetahs are the two South African franchises who seem to be in most danger of being cut, but the Kings do have the backing of government who consider the Eastern Cape a vital player in the mission to make rugby an all-inclusive sport in South Africa.
When asked why the Kings should keep their Super Rugby status despite being the weakest South African franchise, Davids spoke about the wealth of untapped talent in the region.
"The franchise has got a lot of potential," he said.
"If you look at the franchise as a whole I think the future of South African rugby lies in the Eastern Cape. There are some good schools, the academy has produced some excellent players in the past few years and the Eastern Cape has produced some excellent Springboks."
Davids added that there were also a lot of opportunities to invest in the region.
"I think if you look at these players, if some of them can play together in a high performance structure for three to five years I think they will be able to produce a lot," he said.
"If you look at facilities from a business perspective, there are a lot of opportunities that the region has and maybe if we can put proper systems in place and have proper financial support to build sustainability, it would help a lot."
Davids added that he would need to speak to CEO Charl Crous to fully understand what the next step was, but he did say that a decision to axe the Kings would hurt.
"It would be a setback for the region," he said.
"I believe from a school perspective we would still produce a lot of good players but obviously they will play rugby in other regions. We must wait and see.
"I don’t want to talk outside of the position that I am in. There is a lot of talent in the Eastern Cape and they can play at national level if they get the right support.
"We understand in terms of the thought process behind the decision."
The Kings must now prepare for a clash against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 11:45 (SA time).