They may be out of next year’s Super Rugby competition, but the Kings could be given a free ride into the Currie Cup Premier Division.
According to a report on Die Burger’s website, strong rumours are doing the rounds that this proposal was made at a SARU Executive Council meeting earlier this week.
Kings president Cheeky Watson was reluctant to confirm the rumours but stated he would definitely welcome such a ruling.
“I am willing to look at anything which could ensure that top-class rugby remains in our region,” said Watson.
According to the report, the Kings would then not play in next year’s promotion-relegation series against the lowest-ranked South Africa Super Rugby side. They lost their Super Rugby status after losing over two legs to the Lions a few weeks ago.
However, should the Kings be promoted to the Currie Cup top flight, a decision about what team will take part – the Southern Kings or the Eastern Province Kings – would need to be taken. Even though most of the Southern Kings players are from EP, their franchise partners, SWD and Border, would want to know where they stand.
Also, the Currie Cup format would need to change. Will the Kings just be promoted as the seventh team or will another First Division team go up with them to make it an eight-team Currie Cup?
The Currie Cup Premier Division currently consists of six teams, with eight in the First Division. The winner of the First Division plays the lowest ranked team in the Premier Division in a promotion-relegation series at the end of the season, so the Kings could play themselves into a position where they automatically qualify.
But as things currently stand, the Kings will find it tough to win the First Division, as they are currently in fourth position, trailing the unbeaten Pumas by eleven points.
Therefore, with Super Rugby not on next year’s agenda, it could be a wise move from SARU to at least ensure some sort of top flight rugby will take place in the Eastern Cape next season…