Delays 'prejudice' Kings

2010-04-27 15:53

Port Elizabeth - Southern Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons says the delay in awarding a Super 15 franchise to the Eastern and Southern Cape region is prejudicing its ability to approach quality players for the 2011 season.

Solomons, a former assistant coach of the Springboks, says the successful contracting of a Southern Kings squad hinges on the South African Rugby Union (SARU) immediately awarding Super 15 status to the region and confirming its participation from 2011.

“As soon as SARU gives us the franchise we will be able to start approaching and contracting players,” Solomons said. “The constant delays are prejudicing our ability to contract players. Every time there is a delay there is an opportunity lost and we cannot secure the services of quality players who have expressed the desire to play for the Southern Kings”.

Solomons, who coached the Stormers in the Super 12 in 1999 and 2000 and has coached extensively in the Northern Hemisphere, says the region has already missed out on signing up a number of quality players.

“There are players who have approached me saying that they want to play for the Southern Kings. But they can’t wait too long because they also have to think about their future.  If we had confirmation of our participation in the Super 15 we would be in a stronger position to offer these players contracts”.

Solomons is under no illusions that the Southern Kings will initially have to contract players from outside the region to ensure their competitiveness in the Super 15.  He adds, however, that this would be a means to an end and that if there were a Super Rugby incentive, many of the region’s talented players would not be lured away in the future.

“This region has haemorrhaged so many players in the past because there has not been a Super Rugby incentive to keep them here. We have some of the top rugby schools in the country but have been unable to hold onto this talent because there is no Super Rugby franchise.

“Likewise the University team has battled in the Varsity Cup because so many talented players have left the region after finishing school.
“The three Provinces that make up the Southern Kings are the only three in South Africa that do not have Super Rugby representation so it is obvious that players will move away.

“However, if there is a Super Rugby incentive we will retain the majority of players, many of them black players, which is vital for the transformation of the game. This region is the cradle of black rugby and our players should be able to play their rugby here and give something back to their communities.

“At this stage they are prohibited from doing this because there is no aspirational pathway and they are forced to further their rugby careers elsewhere.

“We want to bring our players back home and keep them home. We know it will take time before we are in a position to contract an entire squad from within the region but there must be a means to an end and at the moment the best way to achieve that is to initially spread the net wide in contracting our squad.

 “We showed in the one-off against the British & Irish Lions last year that you can be competitive if you contract players on this basis.
 “We will also establish a rugby academy that will play a big role in ensuring that talented schoolboys are identified at an early age and that they remain in the Province”.

Solomons said there were three areas from which a Southern Kings squad could be contracted for the Super 15 in 2011.

“There are South African players based in the Northern Hemisphere who either are coming to the end of their contracts or may be renegotiating new contracts.

If we know that we have a franchise we can approach these players, many of whom are keen to come back to South Africa. But, there is urgency involved and we need to get to them before they commit elsewhere. Unfortunately we cannot move until we know we have a franchise.

“There are also players in South Africa, some with Super Rugby experience, who are close to renewing their Provincial contracts and who would consider a move to the Eastern Cape if there is an incentive to do so.

“There are also some talented players from within the region who have the ability to make the step up if given the chance,” he said.
Solomons said all elements were in place for the Southern Kings franchise to begin operating.

“We are ready to go,” he said. “If we are given a franchise tomorrow we can immediately activate an experienced management team. These are people who committed themselves to the Southern Kings for the Super 15 bid in 2009 and who have confirmed they are still available,” he said.


  • Emile - 2010-04-27 16:17

    I agree with Solomons. The time has come for SARU to show some balls for a change. There is no way under the sun that the Lions or Cheetahs can argue that they deserve to still be around in the Super 15. They had ample cance to develop and perform, but sadly went backwards in a big way. Lions being without a win after 10 rounds already means that the Southern Kings cannot do worse. It is also true that this region might just create the environment for black players to also develop - should please the politicians at least. The only stumbling block and a major concer for me is the involvement of an asshole like Cheeky Watson. Watson alone could be the biggest threat for this region.

  • Ag please - 2010-04-27 16:46

    Then I also want to bring in contention my own team for the Super 15 next year! Yes i will call them the Crazy Kukatops. I will just recruit players from wherever and let them play for my team. More like the Southern Court Jesters than the kings....

  • Emile - 2010-04-27 17:03

    Allan my boy the Spears have the franchise as it was granted to them by the Presidents Council Resolution. ...................................No such thing exists for the Southern Kings! All they have is the 16 June game from last year. Lights Out!

  • Rob Sampson - 2010-04-27 17:46

    "... many of the region’s talented players would not be lured away in the future" That is the key quote from the article. Look at the number of black players who have made it possible for Super 14 teams to meet their quotas. You will find that many of them come from the Eastern Cape - Border and particularly Eastern Province. Let us call a spade a spade. It seems to me that there are forces at the highest level who are resisting the rise of the Kings because there will be a lack of supply of black players for the more fashionable teams. Go back into the history of the Eastern Province region. Conside KWARU where Vallance and Cheeky Watson played their rugby. How many know of such stars of the KWARU rugby as Eric Majola, as nippy a flyhalf as you would find anywhere in the days of Apartheid rugby? But it is not only the black players that have suffered. Eastern Province has been dealt a bad hand in South African rugby from as far back as I can remember and I was brought up in PE. What about the team that beat the touring Lions in (I think 1956) by 20-0 and saw their star prop, Amos Du Plooy and hooker, Colin Kroon unceremoniously dropped from the Springbok side never to play Springbok rugby again. And to add insult to injury they were not in the 30 (or was it 31 with broken-leg Basie Van Wyk touring as a guest of the NZRU?) that went to New Zealand under Basie Viviers. They were replaced by Harry Newton-Walker and Melt Hanekom (second string Boland hooker) . Neither of the latter could hold a candle to Amos Du Plooy or Colin Kroon, the strongest scrummagers in their respective positions at the time. Come on SARU give the region a break and release the undoubted talent residing there. It might just help South African rugby. PS Guess where one of the most successful Super 14 coaches this season, Allistair Coetzee, played his rugby? And he toured NZ in the early days of Super 10(?) rugby with Eastern Province. I rest my case.

  • bulawayo-based-bok - 2010-04-27 18:51

    i only read the title of this article, and thats all it took to realize that these Kings will be all talk and no action......Prejudice! the Kings will prejudiuze every white guy who wants to play for the team, especially with Cheeky Watson calling the shots!!! the only way this team will not be an embarrassment like the lions is if they do a "Toulon" and offer millions of Rand to buy Overseas players......drop the lions and bolster the Cheetahs, that is the only way forward!!

  • Craig - 2010-04-27 20:11

    The Kings are integral to the country's future rugby development. This is the region that produces top products from the likes of Grey High, Framesby, Dale and Queens College to name but few. They deserve a chance and, with the right administrators (note), will achieve success. Look at how the Warriors cricket side has developed into one of the strongest franchise sides in world cricket despite lack of (initial) financial resources and without silverware for almost 2 decades. I cannot see how the Lions add value to the tournament and that has been the case since Vos' Cats achieved relative success years ago. People like Tony McKeever, Cheeky Watson and now Solomons have put their necks on the line to promote development in the region and are only met with broken promises from SARU and denouncement and ridicule from armchair experts.

  • Bassie - 2010-04-27 20:24

    Mr Solomons let us be honest in what team's place do you want represent the Southern Kings in the Super 15 . SARU must have the guts to sit down with the other Franchises beforehand and work out what strategy will be the best for the SEC Region to get in eg Sponsors , Players Contracted,Suite Holders etc. Then i suggest that 2012 will be the date to be allowed into the Super 15

  • Koos - 2010-04-27 22:03

    Aaag Solomons, shut your mouth! Just trying to make the "kings" play rugby is prejudice to every rugby player in SA! I would rather see a S15 team coming from Kimberley! At least we know that there is a few good rugby players in the Griquas team. Before even trying to have a team being promoted to S15, how about playing them against one of the Vodacom cup teams and then decide if they should even be allowed in the Curry Cup... not to mention the S15... sheesh. The S15 is for professionals!

  • robert barrie - 2010-04-28 05:42

    Absolutely agree with Solomons and the time has arrived to 'strip' the Lions of the Super 14 franchise. They have had more than enough years to show and improved and did not perform. It is only fair to give the Southern kings a fair opportunity and time to deliver. The game in Lion territory just went down after Luyt and King and took an abolute nose dive under Ferreira and his managment. Kevin de Klerk will have great difficult to clean the house whilst some of the old guard is around and therefore the only way will be to start fresh and give others the opportunity

  • chris - 2010-04-28 08:41

    Why the hell not? Put the lions and the cheetahs together because it is the only way they are every going to come close to winning anything. This can only benefit SA rugby and if we give the kings ago it will stop this whole argument of black players never been given a chance, so let it happen lets see how it goes and I hope it succeeds. Just one last question, if it is so easy to contract good players why haven’t the lions and the Cheatahs done it yet??????

  • chris - 2010-04-28 08:54

    Why the hell not? Put the lions and the cheetahs together because it is the only way they are every going to come close to winning anything. This can only benefit SA rugby and if we give the kings ago it will stop this whole argument of black players never been given a chance, so let it happen lets see how it goes and I hope it succeeds. Just one last question, if it is so easy to contract good players why haven’t the lions and the Cheatahs done it yet??????

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