Even with a surprising win the Kings will suffer for the way in which SARU handled the whole episode surrounding their entry into Super Rugby
Gavin Rich, Weekend Argus
This is quite a cumbersome effort, so I will only retype a few telling excerpts from this author’s column in the Weekend Argus. Rich writes:
“What should have happened was that four years ago SARU should have started injecting money and expertise into the Kings.
“At the same time they should have informed the Lions and the Cheetahs that the inclusion of the Kings were non-negotiable, that there wasn’t going to be SR room for both frnchises, and that they have four years to come up with a workable solution to their own predicament.
Rich carries on, saying that those who say that the Cats were unworkable have short memories. They were more succesfull than the Lions or the Cheetahs.
“The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that, even if purely from a geographical viewpoint, the Kings have to be included in the SR. And they should be given time to build, rather than thrown to the wolves like they are now.
“Were the Kings entering the competition today (Saturday) assured of at least a three year stay there would be a purpose to it. A last place finish amongst the SA franchises will see them playing a promotion-relegation game against the Lions. Lose that, and they are back out of it again.
“From a transformation and rugby sell point of view the sport administrators shouldn’t have required government meddling to see the value of having the EC represented in SR is a no-brainer.
“The EC administrators could have been more pro-active themselves in ensuring thay they generated sufficient growth for the challenge to be less daunting. But given the uncertainty over their future that has lasted for much of the past decade, it is also understandable why businesses were reluctant to invest and why top players think twice about relocating.”
To me as an observer that is the crux of the matter. Surely in the end this will go down as one the most embarassing bust-ups in the history of SARU, not only postponing a problem, but worsening it at the detriment of the national game and thowing around chunks of a budget that hardly meets ends as it is.
I can imagine that a big percentage of the supporters that turned up on Saturday will not be aware that the Force is arguably the second weakest team in the competitition. One can only wonder how they will react when the heavy losses start occurring. How many will be in the stands at the end of the season?
Sponsors, I would presume, are better informed. Investing heavily in a one-year side is just not good business, especially not in the current economic climate. And the sport needs sponsors.