Davids: Kings looking for a 'solid spine'
New Kings coach Deon Davids, in his first media appearance since his appointment late last year, admitted that the Kings find themselves in an unfavourable position.
Currently they have just over 20 players contracted for the season, with another nine on trial.
There are about 12 vacant spots to be filled before the season kicks off next month.
Davids, who is the current coach at the George-based SWD Eagles and will return there after the Super Rugby season, said it is "very important" to have the squad finalised.
"It is not a situation you want," Davids told a media briefing at the team's training base in Port Elizabeth.
"We understand the situation we are in and it is important to go through a thorough process and ensure the players you do get will be able to compete at Super Rugby level.
"Hopefully in a week's time we'll be able to finalise that squad."
He admitted there are a "couple of positions" that they are looking at to get players and looking for dept.
"You look at the spine of your team, that is important," Davids said, adding: "You want to ensure you have quality players at hooker, at tighthead prop, a line-out lock, No.8, in the modern game your No.9 ad No.10 are crucial, as well as your fullback.
"You look at developing the spine.
"We must also look at how we can mix the experience with the young players coming from this region.
"It is important to get that balance right to ensure you have a competitive team."
Davids also revealed that they have sought the help of a mental guru, in the wake of the cash crisis in Port Elizabeth – which resulted in the players going unpaid for about four months, before the South African Rugby Union stepped in and salvaged the wreck that was created by the inability of Eastern Province officials unable to meet their financial obligations.
"We are looking to put [the controversies and dramas of] 2015 behind us.
"For that reason I brought in an experienced mental coach [Myan Subrayan], to help revisiting our culture and set new values and standards.
"The camp mood in the camp is positive as the guys understand it is important to move forward."
The Kings play NMMU in a controlled 'contact session' on January 29, followed by pre-season games against the Stormers (February 5 or 6) and Cheetahs (February 12).
Their campaign officially gets underway when they host the Sharks in Port Elizabeth on February 27.
Kings squad (provisional): Jacques Engelbrecht, Jacobie Adriaanse, Schalk Oelofse, Malcolm Jaer, Siyanda Grey, JP du Plessis, Stefan Watermeyer, Elgar Watts, Louis Fouche, Shane Gates, James Hall, Kevin Luiters, Aidon Davis, Sipato Junior Pokomela, Cyril-John Velleman, Stefan Willemse, Thembelani Bholi, Cornell Hess, Steven Sykes, Tyler Paul, Schalk Ferreira, Tom Botha, Edgar Marutlulle.
On trial: Billy Dutton, Onke Dubase, Mihlali Mpafi, Michael Makase, Ntando Kebe, Leighton Eksteen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Monde Hadebe, Lukhanyo Am.
By Jan de Koning