Weekend Post (South Africa)

Time for EP Rugby to make fresh start

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THE resignatio­n of EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson has paved the way for the troubled union to make a fresh start.

After an eight-year spell, with many highs and lows, Watson handed in his resignatio­n letter this week.

Watson’s term in the hot-seat was soured when a cash crisis hit the union which resulted in players not being paid, liquidatio­n and SA Rugby taking charge.

In the end Watson, blamed by many for the union’s woes, was left powerless after SA Rugby appointed an administra­tor.

After chaos engulfed the union, rugby’s image in the region was harmed by personalit­y clashes as various groups attempted to topple Watson.

While Watson’s legacy was tarnished, it is worth rememberin­g that his leadership did provide some high points.

During his reign, Super Rugby returned to the city and there were also test matches, which were well attended. In addition, the Bay also hosted the World Sevens Series for four years before it was relocated to Cape Town.

Thanks to Watson and his executive’s endeavours, the Kings also returned to the Currie Cup Premier Division after a long absence and the junior EP U21 and U19 teams also gained A Division status.

The outgoing president’s finest hours were in 2013 when the Southern Kings fought bravely in Super Rugby and drew record crowds to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

EP have announced they will be having an election next month and the magnanimou­s Watson has urged all rugby lovers to get behind the new president.

When the new president is crowned next month, he will face the tough job of restoring rugby’s image.

EP called for nomination­s this week and it was interestin­g to note that any candidate for the presidency must provide a synopsis of his strategic plan for the union. With so much enthusiasm for the game in this region, rugby deserves only the best leadership going forward.

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