Kings to go into battle with their new Supermen
THE Southern Kings’ Super Rugby squad started to take serious shape when they announced 12 new signings including Namibian Test fullback Crysander Botha.
Ten of the new signings played for the Kings in the Currie Cup Premier Division and the newcomers are Botha and lock Cameron Lindsay who missed last season because of a knee injury.
Lindsay, however, has played for the Kings previously.
The other new signings announced by Kings chief operating officer Charl Crous were Johann Tromp, Sampie Mastriet, Waylon Murray, Berton Klaasen, PieterSteyn de Wet, Ricky Schroeder, Schalk Ferreira, Justin Forwood, Mike Willemse and Martin Bezuidenhout.
The new players join Louis Fouche, Thembelani Bholi, James Hall, Malcolm Jaer, Tyler Paul, CJ Velleman and Siyanda Grey who had been signed earlier.
“Progress is being made and we are putting together what we believe will be a competitive team in Super Rugby next year,” said Crous.
“Specially taking into account that we will have a pre-season with all the players which was not the case last season.
“There will be more signings and we will be in a position to name them later.”
The Kings are being bankrolled by SA Rugby and it is believed that the Kings will need a budget of around R40-million to assemble a top team. It is known that the Kings want a squad of between 40 and 45 players for the international tournament.
Namibian Botha previously played for the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup competitions and for the Lions in Super Rugby.
He made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in 2008 and also played against Fiji in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, scoring a try.
He played in both legs of the Lions’ promotion-relegation matches after the 2013 Super Rugby season which saw the Lions regain their spot in Super Rugby.
He was then included in the Lions squad for the 2014 Super Rugby season and made his Super Rugby debut in a 21-20 victory over the Cheetahs.
In 2014 Botha signed for Premiership side Exeter Chiefs in England and then decided to return home to Namibia. He will join fellow Namibian Test player Johann Tromp in the Kings side.
Notable signing among the new group is the vastly experienced prop Schalk Ferreira, who was named captain of the Kings Currie Cup team this season before he was ruled out by injury.
The captaincy role was then taken over by scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder who was rewarded for his enterprising play and leadership qualities in the Currie Cup by being awarded a Super Rugby contract.
At the end of the Currie Cup season, Schroeder said it had been his dream to land a Super Rugby contract and he will relish this opportunity to play at the top level.
Another experienced player in the squad is former Springbok centre Waylon Murray who will have much to contribute during the Super Rugby season.
It is expected that the Kings will start their pre-season training early next month under head coach Deon Davids and his assistant Barend Pieterse (forwards coach).
At this stage it has not been decided who will take the place of backline coach Mzwandile Stick who was promoted to the Springbok squad earlier this year.
However, there has been speculation that the position could go to Vuyo Zangqa who took charge of the Kings backline in the Currie Cup.
The Kings kick-off their Super Rugby campaign at home against the Jaguares at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on February 25.