Despite their respective bosses denying it, the Kings and the Lions appear to be locked in negotiations about a possible merger into one team in Super Rugby next season.
According to a report in Thursday’s Cape Argus, rugby administrators from Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg are considering joining forces and forming a team called the “Lion Kings” for next year’s tournament.
The two teams are set to square off in two Super Rugby promotion-relegation matches after the Kings were confirmed as the lowest-ranked South African team in this year’s competition.
The matches are set to take place on July 26 and August 2, but would become redundant if the negotiations proved successful.
Lions president Kevin de Klerk and Kings boss Cheeky Watson have both publicly denied talk of combining, but sources with insight into the talks confirmed to the Cape Argus that both parties are exploring all avenues to avoid the prospect of relegation.
Furthermore, Kings coach Alan Solomons is believed to be packing his bags for a post in Europe and, if an agreement is reached, Lions coach Johan Ackermann is the leading candidate to guide the Lion Kings.