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    Cronje: Eastern Cape needs professional rugby

    2017-04-10 18:16

    Port Elizabeth - Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje has given his reasons why the Eastern Cape should hold onto a Super Rugby franchise in the 2018 season. 

    SANZAAR has announced that South Africa will lose two of its six Super Rugby allocations in next year's tournament, and the Kings and the Cheetahs appear front-runners to be cut. 

    But Cronje, speaking shortly after hearing the news of SANZAAR's decision on Sunday, said that it was important to provide youngsters from the Eastern Cape with a platform to get involved in rugby.

    "I was schooled in the Eastern Cape at Queen's College, and for me growing up in the Eastern Cape there was never a professional side," he said.

    "I think we all know that if the opportunity is there to go out and support professional players and have heroes it just motivates you to chase your dreams and have ambition.

    "There are some players that come from disadvantaged areas in the Eastern Cape that get great opportunities to go somewhere in life and it (professional rugby) provides them with a platform where they can grow.

    "We’ve got some of those guys in our team who have taken the opportunity that rugby has provided them, so it’s of utmost importance if the possibility is there to have rugby in the Eastern Cape."

    Cronje and the Kings had to play against the Force just two hours before the official SANZAAR announcement, but Cronje said the uncertainty surrounding the decision actually served as a positive. 

    "I think if anything it was motivation for both sides to put on a great game of rugby," he said.

    "With 12 tries I think it was a good game. For us it was just about focusing on the things that we can control." 

    The Kings lost 46-41 and take on the Reds in Brisbane next Saturday at 11:45 (SA time).

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