Kings territory will keep 'producing'
SPOTLIGHT: The Southern Kings are no more and the emotions are running high.
From a ‘crowd-funding’ type assistance programme to public outcries have followed the news of their second liquidation in recent years.
Trade unions were pooling their collective might to launch a court bid to assist angry and devastated Southern Kings players and staff.
At the same time, retired Springbok Braam van Straaten and Piet Heymans, the CEO of Sport Employees Unite combined to help the devastated Southern Kings players and staff.
It has even reverberated around the Springbok camp this week.
Two members of the Bok coaching staff intimately acquainted with the Kings are Mzwandile Stick (Green team) and Deon Davids (Gold team) – the coaches of Saturday’s trial match at Newlands.
Stick cut his teeth as a player at the Mighty Elephants and Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth, becoming a regular member of the national Sevens team – before taking up coaching with the Eastern Cape outfit after his retirement.
Davids, a born-and-bred Boland man, started his coaching career in the Western Cape and worked his way through the structures – with a couple of quick turns at the Lions and SWD Eagles – before ending up at the Kings in 2016. He coached them for two years in Super Rugby and two seasons in the Pro14.
Both Stick and Davids said that, despite the obvious financial and administrative issues, the region should not be discarded as a talent producing arena.
“Rugby in the Eastern Cape is very close to my heart,” Stick told a virtual media briefing this week.
“It is very sad to see what is happening there [in Port Elizabeth],” he said of the liquidation that resulted in players and staff not being paid.
“I don’t really know much about the details of what is happening,” he said, adding: “[However,] the Kings gave me an opportunity at a young age to be a [professional] player and they made me who I am.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
“While I don’t have the details and insights of what is happening, it is sad to see that they are struggling.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) September 27, 2020
Davids said he also has “very special memories” of the Kings.
“It is never pleasant to be in the situation they find themselves in,” the Bok assistant said.
“I feel for the players and the staff.
“It is sad that it happened.
“However, with the talent coming from that region, we will continue to see some good players coming from there.”