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    Cronje: I want to be loyal to Kings

    2017-07-10 13:40

    Port Elizabeth - Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje has been at the centre of everything the side has done right this season. 

    On Saturday, he had another superb game that ended with a last-minute penalty that gave the Kings a memorable 31-30 win over the Bulls at Loftus. 

    It was a stark reminder of how far the Port Elizabeth-based franchise has come this season. 

    Still, the future remains uncertain for the team.

    It was confirmed on Friday that the Kings and Cheetahs will not take part in Super Rugby 2018 as SANZAAR restructures the tournament. 

    While both of the cut South African sides have been linked with joining the Pro12 in Europe, nothing has been confirmed yet. 

    That uncertainty has forced a number of players in the Kings set-up to secure their futures elsewhere, and Cronje will be joining Jake White at Japanese club Toyota Verblitz. 

    But, speaking after the Bulls win, Cronje said he wasn't done with the Kings.

    "I'd like to come back to the Eastern Cape and represent them again," he said.

    "I come from a background where I need to be loyal to the people that have entrusted opportunity with me. I'd like to come back and give more to the Eastern Cape.

    "This whole season has been about respect - to the players around you and to yourself. We don't worry about external factors that we've got no control over. It is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it."

    On the prospect of playing in the Pro12 or in another international competition, Cronje was optimistic. 

    "We can only look forward. We can't be negative about it," he said.

    "It's a new venture and there are a lot of positives that can come out of it and that's what we choose to focus on.

    "Whatever circumstance or competition we are in, we're going to look to be competitive and enjoy our rugby and play for each other."

    And, what has been the secret at the Kings this season?

    "It's a bunch of guys that want to come out and win rugby games. We said at the beginning of the season that we weren't satisfied with the way we started out the season and it was testament to the character of the side," Cronje said.

    "The character of the team is just phenomenal."

    Cronje and the Kings will play their last Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in PE this weekend.

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