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    Kings crisis not the players' fault

    2016-03-01 10:23

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Super Rugby 2016 is just a week old, but already it is looking like it will be a long, hard season for the Kings and coach Deon Davids. 

    Having started brightly against the Sharks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the Kings ended up going down 43-8 to the men from Durban. 

    It doesn't get any easier, either, with fixtures against the Chiefs (home), Crusaders (away) and Hurricanes (away) awaiting the Kings after this weekend's bye.

    The financial troubles that have plagued the union in recent months completely ruined pre-season preparations in Port Elizabeth. 

    The union was not able to pay its players at the end of each month, and it resulted in the South African Rugby Union (SARU) stepping in and contracting a group of players that would represent the franchise in Super Rugby. 

    That squad was only assembled in January.

    Former Sharks fullback SP Marais had joined the Kings at the beginning of November expecting to be a part of the Super Rugby squad, but he was not given a SARU contract and has since cancelled his contract with the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU).

    In an interview with Sport24 in which Marais spoke openly about his horrific experience with the Kings, Marais said that the troubles facing the franchise this season were not the fault of the players on the field. 

    "You can’t blame the players. This whole thing comes from up above," Marais said.

    "I don’t think they’re 100% prepared. They didn’t have enough time ... they only started in January.

    "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."

    Marais encouraged the rugby-loving public in Port Elizabeth to sympathise with the players.

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

    "I wish them well."

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