Kings in dark over scrumhalf
Cape Town - The Southern Kings appear to be in the dark about whether scrumhalf James Hall will return from France to play Super Rugby in 2017.
The 21-year-old former Junior Springbok left the Kings after last year’s Super Rugby competition to play for French club Oyonnax.
At the time, the understanding was for Hall to return in time for this year’s Super Rugby competition, with Kings CEO Charl Crous saying at the time: "We have not released him from his contract. James was only contracted for Super Rugby and he has been given the opportunity to gain some exposure abroad during what will be our Currie Cup season.”
Hall has excelled at Oyonnax, and now it appears that the Pro D2 club are not keen to release him.
According to Netwerk24, reports in French media indicate that Hall will stay on in France, with the King still waiting for correspondence from Oyonnax.
The Kings suffered financially in 2016, with SA Rugby stepping in to take control of the franchise in Super Rugby, after the EP Rugby Union was liquidated.
Whether the Kings would be able to compensate Hall in the same manner is an open question.
Currently, there are only three scrumhalves contracted to the Kings for Super Rugby, namely Ricky Schroeder, Johan Steyn and Poerie van Rooyen.
The Kings squad meanwhile returned to training on Monday following a two and a half week Christmas break.
After assessing the players, team doctor Konrad von Hagen was pleased to report that there were no new injuries sustained over the break.
Furthermore, the medical team is pleased with the progress of the players who have been on the injury list.
“We are quite fortunate that following a successful first half of our pre-season and the Christmas break we have had no new injury concerns and the players have returned injury-free. We are very happy with this,” said Von Hagen.
“We are also quite pleased with the good progress that our players who have been on our injury list since last year. They are all on track and we expect most of them to make full recoveries by the end of this month (January), in time for our first Super Rugby match.”
The Kings will play warm-up matches against the Border Bulldogs in East London on February 4 and SWD in Port Elizabeth on February 11, before opening their Super Rugby campaign at home against the Jaguares on February 25.