When it comes down to it, assembling a squad that will be competitive in Super Rugby is by far the biggest challenge facing the Kings. I believe that the main reason given by them to be included in Super Rugby, is for the world to see the talent the Eastern Cape has to offer.
Indeed they have produced some great players over the years, as did the Golden Lions. But yesterday while watching the game between the Cheetahs and Bulls, one thing became evident. The Bulls looked headless chickens, committing basic errors. But the main ingredient missing from their normally well oiled cog was the fact that they had mostly a bunch of rookies that must still get used to this level of play.
Take into effect that the Bulls were hit hard with Bok Selections, some of them very questionable indeed. There is solace for the Pretoria based team in the fact that with every Bok selection a union gets, they get reimbursed by Saru. They can then use this money to buy up even more school boy players. So as I say, the real challenge for the Kings would be to buy players, basically contradicting the reason why they were allowed Super Rugby exposure.
There is though, plenty of players playing in the Currie Cup, not playing Super Rugby, that could make name for themselves at the Kings. I don’t see players from the region, coming back home for the sake of being involved with something “new and exciting”. Yes there will be one or two big names, lured for the money, but I don’t see the Ndungane twins leaving their Unions to come back home after so long. I also don’t see Steven Sykes, Ryan Kankowski, Tim Whitehead, Jacques Potgieter or any other player, playing for a big Union, suddenly up and leave.
They might promise First Team rugby, but they are not promising playing for only one year, and that is why Cheeky Watson wants to challenge the decision made by the General Council, to give them three years. Now comparisons are made from when Louis Luyt was still in charge, and using his NP contacts in the backrooms of Sports and Politics. Suddenly I am hit with a huge amount of admiration again for Louis Luyt, and realize that this is someone we need at the helm of SA Rugby again.
Had he been in charge, we would not be subjected to roll over for our SANZAR partners just because the Jelly Fish put in charge cannot negotiate properly. I am sure for the sake of argument that a 6 year old kid can do better. Suddenly I miss the days, when rugby was not professional, when players had an alternative career, where players like Divan Serfontein and Uli Schmidt was Doctors and on weekends be ready to face off against the best the DAME of World Rugby had to offer. Suddenly I wonder, how good must it have been to play in a Springbok squad that featured the likes of Frik Du Preez, Danie Craven, Dawie De Villiers and Mannetjies Roux.
Ja, on this Test Day Saturday, a weekend with a Ultra Marathon of Sport on the Telly, I suddenly feel reminiscent of the days when sport was simple. I hate the politics, as I am sure many of you do. I always dreamt, that when I am blessed with a Baby Boy, that I would teach him the fine arts of rugby, I would work my arse off to get him into the best rugby schools, go see him play for Rondebosch or Paul Roos, see him off to Varsity to play for Maties and maybe make a career for himself, but the way this is heading I would rather send him to Arizona to swim with Roland Schoeman.