Cape Town - Luke Watson has expressed disappointment after being excluded from the first Kings squad named for next year’s Super Rugby competition, but vowed to support the team.
Watson’s name was not among the first 20 signed players named on Sunday to represent the Kings in Super Rugby next year.
The group reported for duty at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday for the continuation of administration and logistical preparations as well as working on strength and conditioning programmes. More signings will be made before the completed squad report for duty on January 4.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed the players would be paid during the course of the week for November and December by a new holding company created and wholly owned by SARU to manage the financial affairs of the Southern Kings.
After not making the initial squad, Watson released the following statement to Kings fans:
“It was a moment of mixed emotion when the Super Rugby squad was announced. I was obviously disappointed for myself and for many of the other payers who didn't make the squad but at the same time I was extremely happy for my team-mates that made it. The past couple of months have been very difficult for us as a group. There have been many challenges.
“The team must be applauded for the character that has been shown during these tough times. It's far from an ideal situation with some of the players being left out. It's not fair on them. They really deserve to be there too.
“However the situation is out of our hands and we need to see what is next for us as a group of players who were not included in the Super Rugby squad.
“At this stage, I believe that the most important thing is for us as players, as a city and as a province to get behind the Southern Kings. There might be many reasons to be unhappy about how things have worked out but as a province we need to get behind our side and give them our full support.
“In 2013, the results didn't necessarily go our way but across the world people spoke about the passion and commitment that our supporters showed! So I encourage everyone to get behind the team and support them wholeheartedly.
“This is our opportunity as a region to once more be on an international platform and show the world what we are about. Every single player in that team has my complete support. I am extremely happy for them and I know that they will make us proud.
“I am proud to come from the Eastern Cape, there is no other place like it in the world and I'm incredibly passionate about the Kings. I will be there cheering the team on from the stands!”