Daily Dispatch

GRC’s exit from Southern Kings unfortunat­e, says Kempson

- GEORGE BYRON

The sudden exit of Southern Kings previous owners, the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (GRC), was described as “unfortunat­e” by Kings interim head coach Robbi Kempson.

The Kings’ mentor was talking during a Zoom media conference where he was asked whether he was feeling optimistic about the future of his franchise.

The national body assumed control of the Kings after SA Rugby said the GRC had failed to meet contractua­l commitment­s in July.

“I think the exit [of the GRC] was unfortunat­e in the way things went,” Kempson said.

“Now we are back in the hands of SA Rugby.”

Asked if he had spoken to the new board, Kempson said: “I have not met with the new board of the Southern Kings as a whole, but I have had conversati­ons with board chairman Andre Rademan and member Jannie Louw.”

SA Rugby have shown that they are serious helping the Kings by deploying seasoned administra­tors Monde Tabata and Louw to map a path forward.

The new board will be chaired by Rademan, while EPRU finance and human resources chair Mbulelo Gidane will sit alongside him.

The fifth member of the board is independen­t member Gugu Nxiweni, who has been retained from the previous Kings board.

“It has been difficult times for everyone, but certainly the support we have been given by SA Rugby has been tremendous,” Kempson said.

“The Kings players are looking to forge that forward.

“As far as the future is concerned we have been given guarantees as much as the Cheetahs have about PRO14 participat­ion.

“We are bound by the PRO14 contract that is in place.

“So I am very optimistic about the future of the Kings and PRO14.

“If we go to a global season next year, we will get back into the PRO14 then.

“Certainly this year we have to concentrat­e on the double round Currie Cup, and hope the wheels and mechanisms will allow World Rugby to get that global season in place for next year and then we can crack on with our internatio­nal competitio­n.”

Kempson said SA’s director of rugby and World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus had spoken to the players.

“From Rassie’s point of view he is about the Eastern Cape and the franchise as well, so he was very positive to the players,” the Kings coach said.

“Rassie answered the questions that were posed to him and in that affable style he calmed a lot of fears the players might have had.

“It was a very good chat from him.

“It put the players at ease about the future of the Southern Kings and their profession­al careers in SA.

“Also, It was important to have a chat like that, especially when it comes from the director of SA Rugby.

“I think it was good for the players to get that informatio­n from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.”

The Kings have named a 38man squad for rugby’s restart, but are trying to sign up additional players before the Currie Cup kicks off.

Work is going on behind the scenes to get contract extensions for JC Astle, Schalk Ferreira and Stefan Ungerer resume their places in the squad ahead of the Currie Cup.

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ROBBI KEMPSON

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