Kings look to the future
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: With many of the Southern Kings' star players such as Lionel Cronje and Chris Cloete leaving at the end of the Super Rugby season, coach Deon Davids has spoken of the need to build a team for the future. Josh Isaacson reports.
SARU confirmed last Friday that both the Kings and the Cheetahs will not be playing in any further Super Rugby tournaments. However, reports suggest that both teams will be joining an expanded Pro 14 - currently known as Pro12, where they will play against teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, some of which include the likes of Munster, Leinster and Glasgow Warriors.
The Kings have been in the unfortunate position over the past few seasons of not having any direction with regards to the future of the team, which has left many promising players leaving the team to play their rugby elsewhere.
The Kings recorded only their second-ever Super Rugby victory over South African opposition with a historic 31-30 victory over the Bulls at Loftus in Pretoria on Saturday and speaking after the game, Davids told reporters that the Kings will have to start rebuilding a team at the end of their Super Rugby campaign.
“Unfortunately, that is what’s going to happen [rebuilding a team].
"I've never in my life had the opportunity at this level to work with a team for more than one, two seasons consecutively, so it's tough mentally and physically to start all over again and put things in place," said Davids.
Davids added that looking back on the Kings 2017 Super Rugby team, it will give him plenty of hope that he will be able to build a competitive side for the future.
"If it's a worthy cause and we can have the same result and the same situation then that shall be it, then we must do it," commented Davids.
Davids further explained the importance of developing and keeping players at the union to build the Kings into something 'special'.
"If you go into an international competition, you can't have a situation where you just consistently recruiting players from elsewhere. You can start out like that, but somewhere you got to put a sustainable structure in place building from junior level right up to carrying it into your senior squads.
"Hopefully, this will be the point where we can start and just continue putting in the effort to get Eastern Province rugby sustainable and build the franchise, which I believe in a few years can be an excellent example of starting from nowhere and working it into something special," Davids said.
By Josh Isaacson