The foundation from which our deep routed passion and love for rugby is built on in South Africa comes from a long and very proud history of our domestic teams.

It is one of our greatest strengths as a rugby nation on and off the field, but it is also a force that deeply divides our national rugby collective.

Sport is nothing without passion, without it kids will never pick up a ball and copy their heroes on television in blue, black, white or green and gold jerseys in the back garden.  People will not line the streets to catch a glimpse of their heroes in an open top bus or stand for hours in the sun to sneak a peek at some elusive trophy their team won for the first time in many years.

This passion is not only reserved for supporters.  Recently Scottish international, Mike Blair announced his retirement from the game.  He is an 80+ test veteran for Scotland and when he decided to hang up his boots, he decided to thank everyone through a blog post he wrote.  One line in this post stood out more than anything else.

“I will never take for granted the privilege that I have been able to realise my childhood dream.”

It is this passion which drives rugby, without it, the game is dead.

Being afforded the privilege to commentate on the game through this website and other mediums, I get to chat to some of these passionate supporters daily.  It is a privilege I will never take for granted because every single day I am reminded of just how special the game of rugby really is.  I am taught and reminded daily to view issues from different perspectives and different points of view.  It has also forced me to view the game beyond the team I personally support because for every one of me who feels that I am the most passionate supporter that ever lived, there are 100 other guys and girls out there supporting a different team that feels exactly the same way.

But my intent with this blog post is not to stir a Jerry Maguire moment in all of you, rugby and specifically rugby as a professional sport has some very harsh realities, and one of those realities we have to deal with as South African rugby supporters currently is the inclusion of the Kings in Super Rugby this year.

In the 8 years I have been doing this ‘officially’ I have never seen a topic in rugby divide South African supporters and commentators as much as the issue of the Kings.  The contempt, disgust and at times even hatred goes beyond the ‘standard’ provincial rivalry and banter which in itself can be very intense at the worst of times.  I am not surprised though.

The issue of the Spears/Kings is one that started as a slight itch in 2005 but has since exploded into the worst case of piles imaginable.  In plain Afrikaans; “Die hele gedoente is niks meer as ‘n moerse pyn in die gat nie”.

The concept of a franchise in the Eastern Cape is something I have always personally supported, our rugby will be stronger if we have a functional and operational organisation or franchise in place to better develop the thousands of players schools and clubs in this region produce every year.  But like so many things this concept was abused by self-serving individuals who tried to sell this franchise to stakeholders in government and industry for political and monetary gain, and because of this, the decisions that followed left players and supporters disillusioned and even angry (at the Kings).

It is nothing new in rugby and even sport in general for administrators with zero accountability to stuff things up, but I do find the vitriol and anger aimed mostly at the Kings players and coaching staff (the rugby men) unfair.

There is something coaching rugby at amateur and youth level teaches you we as supporters often forget – the lads out there busting their balls on the field do so because the love the game and like us could not care less about the political backstabbing that happens at administrative level.

I looked at the Kings squad that was announced yesterday and I also read a comment from Alan Solomons (the Kings Director of Rugby) that realistically they are aiming to end 4th in the South African conference (to avoid the promotion/relegation play-off against the Lions).  I think they will do damn well to win one game personally.

Also, like many out there I fear the record books for Super Rugby will be re-written and not in a good way where we might see record scores posted against the Kings.  But unlike so many comments I see of people looking forward to this happening I think it will do untold damage to our rugby in this country and that those boys that will run out in Kings jerseys simply do not deserve it.

The Kings participation in Super Rugby is in many, if not most ways an unfortunate situation but we as supporters must not lose sight of the fact that it is as a result of decisions made by administrators, not the players and coaches that will carry the brunt of the criticism and jokes that is sure to come.

They might not have a hope in hell to win any games this year, and in my personal opinion they don’t, but I would also like to see supporters get behind the team as South Africans if only for the players sake.  They are after-all, just realising their childhood dreams same as Mike Blair did.

Facebook Comments


  1. Not me.

    I’m doing Cape Spanish here.

    I will support every team that plays against them and I honestly totally hope they cover themselves, the Eastern Cape and South African rugby in complete shame.

  2. Reply to DavidS @ 3:54 pm:

    With you, Dawie.

    On professionalism:
    Neil Adcock, the first real world class
    quick bowler we had (1960’s) had to forfeit
    his job for the tour in England.
    After the tour had to set up a new job to
    support his family.
    I had the pleasure of working with him;
    what a true gentleman he was.
    (Unlike some other stars of yesteryear.)

  3. Adcock and Peter Heine – quite a fearsome
    combination in mid 50’s.
    When our last world class spinner Hugh Tayfield
    also played (170 wkts, 14×5, best 9/113).
    Forerunners to Peter Pollock
    and Mike Procter.

  4. Reply to Boertjie @ 8:28 pm:

    And CSA deliberately wants to erase them from cricketing history…

    I find so much joy in the knowledge that although they can leave names out of books, papers and journals, no man will ever erase memories where those legends only becomes stronger.

  5. Ja, the Rebel tests were declared unofficial.
    But at least those before them still have test
    status, with the players and their stats
    included in the Cricket Annual, Wisden etc.

    What I do find very pathetic is they are not
    included in the numbering system.
    OZ and the Poms have 500’s and more below
    the badge, we float somewhere around 70.

    And when the Proteas beat the OZmob few journo’s
    seems to remember the Boks annihilated them 4-0 in
    1970 (after they had beaten the Windies).
    Margins: 170 runs; innings+129; 307 runs; 323 runs.)

  6. Morne nobody has a problem with players “realising their childhood dreams” – I do however question what Luke Watson’s childhood dream is/was? To puke on the Springbok jersey? Also, the shenanigans and behind the scenes politics that has lead to the Kings playing Super Rugby have been nothing short of disgusting, and had NOTHING to do with rugby. Granted the players did not cause this, but must we therefore support the decision because the players are innocent? I think not. Cheeky Watson and his cohorts have all kinds of agendas here, and I for one will not support the Kings in any form – and I have ALWAYS supported ALL South African teams against overseas opposition – I am afraid that ends now. I also have always suspected that Alan Solomons caused more harm with his backstabbing in the Nick Mallet era than we realise. Support these people? Never! Go Western Force in opening game!

  7. Reply to Greybeard @ 10:05 am:

    Oh just not the Luke Watson thing again. Anything but that.

    I am yet to find one person who agrees or supports the way the Kings administration has been awarded the franchise. It was a bad decision, or rather, a collection of really bad decisions, backstabbing and politicking since 2005.

    But don’t fool yourself to think that the only bad decision that led to this involved SA Rugby and the Kings only. SA Rugby probably leads the pack in series of bad decisions but every single franchise in this country played their part.

    They needed to be put in their place in 2008 already when they first threatened to boycott the inclusion of the Spears – only difference in 2012 was SARU had a CEO in Jurie Roux who did not take shit from them.

    There are 10 000 better ways to have the Eastern Cape region made part of Super Rugby, things that could have started in 2006, 2007 or 2008 already but the continued sidelining of the issue specifically by the President’s Council at SA Rugby (who remember are the presidents of all 14 rugby unions in SA).

    I ask myself this question… Would I have supported the Lions if they were given another year in Super Rugby? Of course I would have. Do they deserve it? Not a chance. They have been an embarrassment administratively off the field and as a team on it to SA Rugby for 5 or more years now in this competition. How is that different from the Kings? Because the Kings has a name like Watson associated to it and the Lions De Klerk? Do we now start supporting teams based on who their presidents are and their competency or political standing? If we do, not many teams will have any support left.

  8. Reply to Morné @ 10:19 am: Morne I agree 100% with much of what you say here. However, we are not talking about competence here. Granted the Lions have been a mess for a long time (and I am a long time Transvaal/Lions supporter for my sins), but that is incompetence and bad management. I would never reject a team outright because of incompetence – you fix incompetence (if you can). What gets to me in this whole thing is the behind the scenes politics – masquerading the decision as an attempt to “develop” rugby.

    The Lions might have been an embarrassment for the last 5 years (and as a Lions supporter I have been more embarrassed than you I will wager), but that does NOT make the Kings a better team. You want embarrassment? Wait till you see the scores that are racked up against them. This was NOT a rugby decision. The Lions might have been weak but there was NO TEAM BETTER to replace them. The bottom line is that we don’t have the depth to field 5 teams, no matter what the administrators say. Refresh my memory – what was the score when the Lions played the Kings last year? Was it 78-0 or some such score? I think so.

    And sorry – you might be tired of the “the Luke Watson thing again” but I for one will never forgive him for his remarks and have no wish to have him representing South African rugby in whatever form – not even as overpaid captain of the Kings.

  9. Reply to Greybeard @ 10:45 am:

    It was never a rugby decision, not many of those are made these days unfortunately.

    But don’t forget the main choir-boys in selling ‘transformation’ in this region is SA Rugby, not the team itself. THEY went to government (for backing of a RWC bid) trading the ‘development’ card for cash backing from government and when it came down to delivering on this promise, they give the franchise a 1-year gig and tell them to get developing. Are they insane?

    We seem to agree on more than we care to admit, but I chose to support the Kings team for the players and coaches, not for the administration. If I did that, I would have given up supporting WP a very long time ago.

  10. Reply to Morné @ 10:58 am: As you say – we agree about most things here, and indeed the real culprits are SA Rugby. Thanks for a good site – by the way, your Super Rugby Fixtures need updating.

  11. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:07 am: Not to flog a point but – by supporting the players you are tacitly accepting the bad decisions made by the suits. How else do we let the suits know that we disapprove of their actions? I will agree to disagree with you on this one.

  12. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:19 am:

    What does a player want? All he wants is to play and if the Kings give him that opportunity then I can’t hold it against the player. Same for a coach.
    If you don’t like what the suits are doing – become one and change the system from the inside.

  13. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:25 am: With respect that is nonsense – I have no wish to get into rugby administration – does that mean that as a lifelong fan I must just accept what they do? I think not. You and I are the lifeblood of rugby – without our rands they are nothing, and rugby administrators need to learn to appreciate this. Rugby is not a democracy – I didnt vote for the idiots who run our rugby – but i do watch their product every Saturday from February till December. I think that gives you and I a stake in the game does it not? Without having to become an adminstrator ourselves.

  14. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:26 am: Players do deserve better yes – and they dont select themselves – but there has to be a way to show that we disapprove of the suits’ decisions – by voting with our feet is the best way.

  15. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:30 am:

    That came across different as I intended but I get your point.

    It is a similar issue with other products I guess like Apple, I love having and working with their products but hate their policies – now do I change to a crappy windows product and withhold my money from apple or do I bitch about apple but buy their products anyway? :?

    Do I bitch about the way rugby is run in SA and keep on watching or do I change the channel to another sport?

  16. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:37 am: You are so right. But imagine if we all switched off our DSTV decoders on Saturday? Wont happen I agree but just imagine. If advertising revenue dried up would SA Rugby still be able to collect vast revenue from DSTV?

    I actually think that we bitch AND we go on watching – it is our right!

  17. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:33 am:

    BTW – welcome to the site! Where you from, who do you support?

    I support all SA teams with a soft spot for the Stormers. I live in Austria and coach/help run our local club I help start in 1997. click on my name to see my club web-site.

  18. as long as the kings play and dont spend 80 minutes kicking and building pods I will support them, even though i think the whole idea is a kak one.

  19. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:41 am: Thanks JT – nice to meet you. I envy you the coaching – I coached/reffed at schools level for many years but haven’t done so for quite a while now – in truth I’m not sure I get the new laws 100%.
    Live in Gauteng, a lifelong Transvaal/Lions supporter, but like you, support ALL SA rugby teams (except the Kings lol)

  20. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:30 am:

    Unfortunately not, it does not give us a stake in the game and it is a misconception amongst fans I have been trying to relay for years now.

    Many don’t agree with me but it’s the truth.

    Administrators could not give two shits about me and you, I know, I sat in those rooms before. Those who do are very, very rare and has no influence.

    The only time administrators will take any notice of outside pressure is if stakeholders like sponsors start making threats. If supporters want to influence rugby, they must forget about trying to put pressure on unions and administrators and rather focus on those who push millions into them.

    Administrators are voted in by clubs representing the union, clubs nominates folks from within their own ranks. It is a protected broederbond you cannot believe.

    The amount of politicking I have witnessed in rugby will put the ANC to shame.

    Your choice as a supporter to watch rugby and invest money in it is about the same as deciding where your once in a month treat will be, Spur or Something Fishy.

  21. Reply to Morné @ 11:45 am: well put – but i still believe we have the right to disapprove of decisions and, if necessary, switch off our TVs – that is where a lot of revenue comes from.

  22. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:49 am:

    Of course, stick around, our favourite past time is to bitch about SARU!

    Brendon (this Cheetahs guy you see posting) bitches about everything!

    We can put our TV’s off indeed, not buy any merchandise and not go to any stadiums. But we don’t.

    Also, if we as supporters takes this moral stance shouldn’t we do it for all teams run by shoddy administrators and not just the Kings? We cannot be morally selective now can we?

  23. Reply to Morné @ 12:01 pm: True. However, without reopening the debate, I am not complaining about shoddy administration. Downright dishonesty I call it. Shoddiness is just incompetence and while infuriating, that can be fixed.

  24. Reply to Greybeard @ 12:07 pm:

    The Kings are just the new boys in a long line of dishonest administrators looking to line their pockets.

    We should all do our best to highlight this around every corner, but never lose sight of supporting the game we love.

  25. But yes, as I mentioned in the post I wrote, the record books will be re-written I’m afraid. This Kings mob will be beaten by any Currie Cup premier team let alone a Super Rugby team.

  26. Reply to Morné @ 12:17 pm: I agree. And I predict a thrashing at the end of the season when they play the Lions in the promotion relegation game – especially since their attrition rate will be higher than the Lions will. It will have all been in vain therefore – but what annoys me is that the Lions have been decimated by this, even if some players will be available for the prom/relegation games – the long term effects of a year out of top flight rugby will be telling in my opinion.

  27. Reply to Ollie @ 12:43 pm: Not denying that Ollie – this just seems to me to be a pointless exercise that will benefit nobody, but will hurt an already struggling franchise (Lions) who no doubt will be reinstated for 2014 (unless the politicians find a way to mess that up too).

  28. Reply to Greybeard @ 12:46 pm:

    The exercise, getting the EC region into Super rugby, is not pointless, the method used to implement it was the prime screw up.

    I have no faith that the politicians will come close to sorting it efficiently

  29. Reply to Morné @ 12:41 pm:

    Morné, I’m not convinced of that. For all his faults Cheeky Watson is a shrewd man, likewise with Solomons. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are planning for the longer term future as well.

  30. Reply to Ollie @ 1:05 pm:

    Been chatting to some folks in PE and surrounds lately, most of them involved with clubs and some of them coaches.

    Cheeky is not well liked, clubs are feeling they are being screwed over and used as pawns by Cheeky.

    The deal that saw the Lions kicked out is in black and white, and it says 1-year with promotion relegation at the end of it.

    Unless the Kings win that, they are out (and will stay out until we move to Super 20 or something).

  31. Good article Morne, agree with most of it.

    I will be supporting the King this year just like I was supporting the Lions last year.

    They in all probability will fail and fail rather spectacularly, but for the sake of the players
    and coaching staff I hope the can keep the scores down and get a win somewhere.

    I do however agree with some of the contributors above that this has the possibility to be
    a monument of what happens when politics and sport are mixed. The Kings fiasco will have the ability to be a great case study for politicians thinking of interfering in the future.

    On the much debated Luke Watson issue I also don’t want to say much. As a player I always rated him highly and I find the absolute obsession and hatred many South African supporters have openly displayed towards him in the past rather disgusting.

  32. I don’t support any specific team in SA apart from the springboks, I support individuals who impresses e with their play.

    Foe me the Kings fiasco has been handled poorly, and the Lions hung out to dry.

    This isn’t about one franchise it is about south African rugby.

    some players I don’t like, such as Puke Watson.

  33. What’s the King’s tally now for non-Japie players I cannot keep up… 4 Kiwi’s, 1 Argie a Kenyan and?

  34. Reply to Greybeard @ 1:12 pm:

    There is a massive player base there that is miles and miles away from any of the current S15 franchises. So firstly, geographically it makes sense.

    Secondly, there is a high drop out of players after school, simply because there is no future for them in the region. Only a handful of players really make it through, think the Mark Andrews’, Os, Brent Russels’ etc. all from the region.

    Thirdly, there are som really strong rugby schools there, Selborne, Grey, Dale, Queens etc. which have good players that slip through the cracks.

    If the whole thing had been managed properly the region could have been a good feeder region to rugby in general in SA simply because more good players would have been noticed and earned some cash on the side.

    Bring a Super team into the region in the correct way and it will lift the clubs etc. in the region with it and probably have a knock on affect.

    But now, the reality is that it will be a lot more difficult to bring into reality.

    The nagativity (no typo) of supportes doesn’t make the situation any easier, unfortunately. I feel for the squad that they have to overcome the mental affects of the “supporters” as well as the huge rugby hurdle.

  35. Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 11:25 am:


    All your players want is perhaps to play, but the top level players really just want a big pay-check and if they are good enough to play at SR level, they will get it regardless whether the team they play for is the Kings or the Queens or the Jacks.

    The problem with the Kings is that we now have a group of players playing SR that are not good enough for SR level. I wish them well, but I won’t bother to watch.

  36. Reply to Ollie @ 2:35 pm:

    The would-be supporters (like me) would
    have been positive had the right steps
    been followed, easing the Kings into SS15,
    starting in the Currie Cup.

    I can’t see any of those schools players
    benefitting by a team that is going to
    get smashed in the SS15 – and have only
    a year to compete at that level.

    So, nothing will change. Thanks to the
    ANC, Saru and the Watsons.

  37. Reply to Timeo @ 4:37 pm:

    You could not be more wrong.

    You expect to be paid for any job, the better you get at it with experience and as you move from a 10-man sideshow company to a big corporate you expect to get paid more. Rugby is not different in that respect and even more challenging because unlike normal jobs, your retirement is not 65 but 30.

    But what makes company A better than company B and you a better employee is the environment which is created for you to excel in what you are bloody good at and your profession of choice.

    Just as not everyone can be accountants, doctors or engineers, not everyone can be a rugby player, it takes skill, dedication and a shit lot of sacrifice to get to the top or even close and even then luck plays a huge part.

    As much as you want to put bread on the table and earn top dollar, any organisation creates a culture for players to exceed in making them happy in what they do and living out their passion for their chosen profession.

    Saracens, the Bulls, and recently WP has ensured that the culture trumps top dollar.

    Any company will have the odd employee to whom money means everything, but they never last long. Any company, and therefore any successful rugby team knows this too.

    I suggest you listen to a rugby player talk who just walked off the field losing a match and see if the paycheque is all he ever cares about.

  38. Reply to Greybeard @ 11:46 am:

    Welcome to the best rugby site.
    But wait until you meet Dawie
    and Duiwel and get more to know
    about that strange Cheetahs supporter
    You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  39. Reply to Morné @ 6:45 pm:

    Talk is cheap, rather look at their actions.
    The constant moving from team to team by all involved in pro-sports is ample evidence that if not all, the the vast majority of what the really good players care about is the big pay-check. Specially so because their careers are short and may end any day.

    I don’t begrudge them for it. All I really care about is seeing a good spectacle.

  40. Reply to Timeo @ 8:06 pm:


    Compare player losses, additions and retentions in any of the teams I mentioned above as an example to any other company.

    I will put R100 on the fact that these teams retentions of top players in top competitions are better than most companies in SA.

    I mean why could the Kings only sign one significant Lions player in Maku with 99% of their other players out on loans without having Super Rugby and the Kings guaranteeing these players of a paycheque?

  41. Reply to Morné @ 8:23 pm:

    Players are hedging their bets because of uncertainty about 2014 and beyond.

    But I think we are being side tracked. The point I want to make is about the justification for the Kings based on geography and the desire or the right of the EC players to participate or be represented.

    Those viewpoints are valid for amateur sports. In professional sports, the geographical location of the team has no relevance from the point of view of the players. The best available players will migrate to the participating teams regardless of where they are located.

    The location of the teams only matters from the point of view of the fans.

    “The Kings should play because the EC fans deserve to be represented”, is a valid statement.

    “The Kings should play because the EC players deserve to participate”, is nonsense.

  42. Reply to Boertjie @ 9:24 pm:

    Well then you support my argument of a happy environment.

    Reply to Timeo @ 9:49 pm:

    Well in that respect I also have to disagree. We had this debate before on the site not sure if it was between me and you or me and Dawie now – too tired, too late.

    But plain and simple for now from me, the EC is worth investing in with pro structures such as Super Rugby from a SA rugby point of view quite simply because of the amount of talented players they produce without it already.

    My argument is simple and the same as always, for the SA rugby collective, not because it is the EC, Northern Cape, Limpopo or any other province. But simply because the EC is
    our largest untapped resources.

  43. Reply to Timeo @ 9:49 pm:

    And as far as hedging bets go, nothing guarantees success for the Lions or Cheetahs, they might implode quite spectacularly in the next 6 months. There are no certain bets in pro sport.

    But I am out for tonight. Chat again tomorrow.

  44. Reply to Morné @ 10:59 pm:

    I have seen very little of the “amount of
    talented players.”
    Not on the countrywide ranking system for
    Not at Craven Week.
    Definetely not in CC.
    And now that they at last may get a chance
    to creep from within the woodwork, Cheeky is
    filling up his team with foreigners and
    non-EC players.

  45. Reply to Morné @ 10:59 pm:

    There is no basis for your proposition that more talent will emerge from the EC just because an SR team is based there.

    What’s the route of player development?

    The best high school players are contracted to play junior rugby for the big unions. The best of those make it into the senior teams, the rest migrate to the smaller unions. Late bloomers migrate back. A few good high schoolers are missed and make their way to SR from the opposite direction. Either way, the geographic location of the SR teams has no bearing on the process. Talent is mobile.

    Investing in the EC high school systems will deliver much more bang for the buck than an SR team.

    Or take an example from a sport that’s been operating professional for a long time.
    The university of Alabama just won their 3rd national football title in 4 years. The other year the champion was their in-state rival, Auburn University. Yet Alabama has no NFL team. Many players that grew up in the South spend their NFL careers in the North East. There are 5 NFL teams in the strip from DC to Boston. The teams are there because the fans are there. Fans have a geographic affinity. Players are mobile, they go where they can find money and glory.

    In baseball the situation is even more acute. A large proportion of the ML players originate from the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Player development there is driven by the prospect of playing in places like New York or Boston.

  46. Reply to Boertjie @ 12:00 am:


    You don’t know how many of the Blue Bulls U/19 and U/21 players have been scouted from the EC over the last 3 years?

    I even remember reporting 2 years ago how they bought 12 of SWD’s Craven Week team.

    Reply to Timeo @ 4:47 am:

    Comparisons to NFL and MJB means absolutely nothing. The codes on a professional level are worlds apart in every single aspect. It is like comparing South Africa’s electricity infrastructure to the options available in the US.

    But your first sentence in your post is what you misread in my views on this. The prospect of MORE talent being identified or developed is not the first prize although as a spin-off it will also be beneficial. My point is help develop the talent already there and currently being produced in a poor infrastructure. BIG difference.

    Currently up to 80% of a union/franchise budget is spent on player salaries. It is by far the biggest portion of money spent by the organisations. The competition structures and funds available and disbursed limits any franchise to the amount of players they can contract not only at senior level, but also junior contracts to feed them.

    In plain English, there are only so many contracts available for school leavers (juniors) and senior rugby players. These numbers are unlikely to change because it is dependent on the competition structures available, and funds available which are constant on 5 or more year contract basis.

    Once these contracts are taken up, those left out are lost to the game.

    The Kings will become the ‘major’ union you refer to with money and the carrot of top flight rugby available to contract players (right in their own backyard and elsewhere).

    Investment in their own competition structures (club rugby, tertiary institutions and schools) will produce even better coaches and players and infrastructures they currently cannot provide for (this is what every current major union does). WP’s relationship with UCT, Maties and Bulls relationship with Tuks (and the high performance centres at each of these) are quite well documented.

    Where SA currently contracts around 400 players professionally on junior and senior contracts, this number can increase by 25% at least, likely more.

    And from there it is a numbers game.

    If 10% of contracted players are likely to be good enough or develop into Springboks we currently produce 40. Some of these retire on a yearly basis, is lost to injury, or goes overseas so let’s drop that down to 30, or even 25.

    Add more players to that pool, and the risk of injury, retirement, players moving on decreases – in other words we improve our development, infrastructure & depth as a rugby collective.

  47. Reply to Morné @ 8:15 am:

    But if the Kings become a major union, it will be at the cost of one of the current majors. With only 5 SR slots available to South Africa, there won’t be any new contracts, just a shift in contracts from one location to another.

    To me the numbers game will work better if they shift all money in the area away from the senior teams, to juniors and schools. With more SA players on junior contracts, the quality of the small group that make to the seniors will improve. If you are 22 or 23 and a bench warmer for Border, you’ll never be an SR quality player. You need to find something else.

  48. Reply to Timeo @ 5:10 pm:

    First paragraph, I would prefer for the Kings to become a major union given their player base (numbers in clubs and schools) than the Lions competing with the Bulls 90km apart from each other. Franchises should be area based in the end and two so close in rugby makes no sense.

    Second paragraph, cannot agree more. And the good news is it is something SA Rugby is currently implementing (don’t tell anyone). You will find in the next 2 to 3 years SA rugby will contract players before unions directly not at senior level as is the case currently, but at junior levels.

  49. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:07 pm:

    Kings verteenwoordig to hele Oos Kaap.

    En ja, sonder ‘n Super Rugby franchise sal enige speler vir helfte van die geld vir enige ander provinsie (met een) gaan teken.

    Maar weereens, dit is die punt.

  50. Something to ponder.

    If I accept a job offer that is way above my skill level and current salary and enjoy the income whilst failing at the job, do I deserve anyone’s support?

    If an ANC cadre takes a high level position that he is not qualified for at a high salary and makes a fine mess doing the job, does he deserve our support?

    Why should it then be any different when a group of B division rugby players suddenly find themselves playing for Super Rugby salaries?
    I don’t think it should be any different.
    They put themselves out as professionals. If they fail, they will deserve all the scorn directed at them.

  51. Reply to Boertjie @ 6:41 pm:

    I agree fully that they way the franchise got to play in Super rugby leaves a lot to be desired, but the point is that it is pointless taking it out on the players, they’re out there to try their best.

    Reply to Timeo @ 6:32 am:

    Firstly, are these guys earning the same amount as Stormers/Sharks/Bulls players?

    Secondly, there is nothing stopping better players from taking the same positions if they want to.

    Thirdly, you take what opportunities life gives you and you do your best with it, if somebody better comes along you will get replaced, that’s business life, ask any top executive that got the golden handshake.

    Fourthly, “If they fail” they have tried their best and that is all one can ask in the short term. This is a marathon that SARU has turned into a sprint. The players are up against a rock and a hard place and they know it.

  52. Reply to Timeo @ 6:32 am:

    If you fail you get fired or lose your job. Rugby teams get relegated.

    But how can you predict they will fail if given a fair shot? Not that this is fair as most agree but I have little doubt you will try your level best to succeed if given the opportunity to.

  53. Warra warra, I’ve spent half an hour reading the same arguments by different posters.

    Here is my point, and as the official Boere thug, my opinion becomes fact after 2 brandy’s, so by seven tonight, this post becomes fact. Like it, argue against it, my word even google it, but you will not change it.

    As passionate rugby supporters, and yes in SA we have millions of them, we have a responsibility to shout and scream our hatred of the handling of the Kings issue to the end. We cannot just idly sit by and watch a couple of monkey’s in suits take away rugby from paying fans, the way they have. Yes maybe an extra franschise should be given to the Kings in future. But that is only in the future. The Kings failed to get promoted to the Currie Cup for crying out loud, now we expect a settled union, granted a union in a mess, but at least a currie cup playing franschise, to move aside and let the Kings play. This is bullying in its worst form by government, they do not care about rugby, they only care about money. The Kings will not develop rugby in the region, not with this foolish decision.

    The right way for this to have happened wouldve been for the Kings to get a CC spot, develop their talent and then play super rugby. This whole issue pisses me off almost as much as changing PTA’s name to Tshwane. I will sit in front of my tv, cheering the opposition against the Kings and go buy myself a Kings jersey and puke on it every weekend and post it on youtube, so that Puke Twatson can see what it looks like to puke on a jersey. I feel sorry for the players, but not sorry enough to actually support them. I cannot wait for the record books to be rewritten.

  54. Reply to Morné @ 10:45 am:

    We’re talking about the players here, not the team.

    Those that are successful, will play SR again, regardless of what happen to the Kings.
    Those that fail will have nothing to complain about because they will receive one season of pay that will be way above their worth.

    Since the expectation is that most of the players fall into the second group, I cannot see why the fans should be supportive of them. The fans are being robbed of the spectacle they expect.

  55. Reply to Aldo @ 1:47 pm:

    Your post shows the exact reason why rugby in SA will never reach the professionalism of, for example New Zealand. Our fanswould rather vehemently shoot down their own country men (the ones between the 4 lines) than get behind them.

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:42 pm:

    That’s like asking Pierre Spies to willingly step down from the Bokke.

  56. I’m gonna have to disagree with you. The Kings issue was and never will be, about our fellow countryman. It has allways been about filling the pockets of a few and using politics to get this done. It is not an issue of being professional or not, it is an issue of how much are we willing to take before we stand up and demand better from SARU.

    Supporting a hapless team, that has only got their place in a world class tournament through government interference, is exactly the type of thing that would happen in an amateur sport. But seeing as how rugby is a professional sport and we should expect ALL rugby related decisions to made on a professional level, I cannot for one second support this team. It is rather you, in your support od mediocracy that keeps us in the stone ages. This whole thing could’ve and should’ve been handled a lot better. I can not and will not support these bunch of bafoons

  57. Reply to Timeo @ 2:42 pm:

    Of course it currently falls under the second group, because no first class player will sign for a one-year gig alone, and there is also zero chance of them developing a couple through their structures in just one year.

    If you want to compare the Lions and the Kings, give the Kings a 6 year freeby in Super Rugby like the Lions had since 2005 and let’s see if they, unlike the Lions, can manage to stay off the bottom of the log.

    Reply to Aldo @ 4:13 pm:

    How did government interfere? This is all SARU, make no bloody mistake.

  58. Reply to Morné @ 5:09 pm:

    So the mediocre players that DID sign for the Kings will benefit from the fact that better players are not interested.

    By happen stance they have landed one year jobs that they are not qualified for, at salaries above their normal level.

    Why should we be supportive of them?

  59. Reply to Timeo @ 6:57 pm:

    Mediocre or not qualified by whose standards exactly?

    Is Lionel Cronje better qualified than Catrakilis? Is Des Fountain better qualified than Waylone Murray or Andries Strauss? Is Derrick Minnie better qualified than Luke Watson with over 80 Super Rugby games?

    Yet we did not have this discussion or uproar last year or the last 6 years when the Lions played failing to win a single match one season and ending bottom of the log most others suggesting that you, and everyone else ‘supported’ them.

  60. Reply to Timeo @ 8:42 pm:

    Your point being? SA produces mediocre players and you are not given a spectacle? The Lions surely hasn’t given you one in the last 6 years.

    You did not answer my question in Reply to Morné @ 7:15 pm:

    Do you support the Lions above the Kings in Super Rugby? SA needs 5 franchises, so it’s either or. And who has the best chance of producing non-mediocre players?

  61. Reply to Morné @ 9:38 pm:

    Kings or Lions, do not concern me in this. I’m interested in these ideas of passion, honour and sacrifices by the players that make them deserving of our special support.
    It is rooted in the amateur game’s representative teams. Winners get honour and glory. Losers deserve respect for their gallant self sacrifice.

    These representative ties between the club players and the top level teams have been broken. Players are not local champions any more, they are hired mercenaries, in service of whomever pay the most.

    You often preach for more professionalism in rugby, yet continue to look at the game from the old amateur perspective.

  62. Reply to Timeo @ 3:16 pm:

    I hear what you are saying and in a way you are correct, when it comes to the creme de la creme players. But its also got to do with the new players coming into the system. The players living in the region where a big, professional is based have, for a number of reasons, more incentive to focus on their rugby with the goal of becoming professional themselves.

    At the moment the EC youngsters have to hope they are spotted during Craven Week or otherwise be truly outstanding in order to be seen.

  63. Reply to Timeo @ 3:16 pm:

    Huh? Players not local champions?

    Tell that to 100 000 people that lined the streets for the WP team that won the Currie Cup and showed it off in an open bus parade and the 25000 odd that stood in blazing heat cueing outside Newlands for hours to have their photo taken with the trophy.

    In SA specifically amateur clubs still call the shots at union level, rightly or wrongly.

    And if you think for one second superstars have no role in upskilling or just motivating juniors or amateurs in the regions they play in then you are mistaken.

    I have written a piece on transformation for SI recently which I will adopt and post here on why I believe it is failing and one of the central points in my view is that we simply do not create local heroes for blacks and coloureds. We take them out of their homes and regions and push them into towns and cities they know nothing about and their own people cannot relate to them anymore.

    But more on that later.

  64. Reply to Morné @ 5:29 pm:

    Champion, as in selecting the best to act as a stand in for the whole group. Eg. The best soldiers from two armies do single combat and the winner determines the outcome of the war. The honour of the whole, rests on his shoulders. He is their champion.

    Professional players are heroes to the fans. The quality of the team is determined by what the fans can afford, not by the quality of the local player stock. Local club members are linked to the team as owners or as fans. The old player representative link is broken.

    You may use your superstars to upskill young talent if you want, but if you look at the more established professional sports you will find very little of that. The superstars interact mostly with fans. It increases their incomes and that is the motivation that drives a whole army of coaches, scouts, agents and parents to develop the next group of superstars.

  65. Reply to Timeo @ 6:43 pm:

    But that is contradictory, because the local player stock is directly related to how many coaches, scouts, agents and parents develop and drive the next group of superstars in that region or locally and that has been our point all along.

    You don’t relate to sport/team as a fan or youngster without heroes, you have a better chance of relating to them if you can identify with them as ‘one of your own’ (not race but team/jersey).

  66. Reply to Morné @ 5:29 pm:

    The prospect of playing for the Yankees or the Red Sox drives baseball development in the Dominican Republic. The player hero’s life is completely different than that of their young fans back home. Everyone wants to emulate them. The professional sport provides the fairytale escape from poverty.
    Amateur sports do not provide that. You have to have resources already if you want to participate. It’s elitist. Elitism is why Rugby resisted professionalism for so long.

  67. Reply to Timeo @ 6:55 pm:

    Of course its different, but it still directly influences the next generation to take up the sport or develop them.

    SA is hugely provincialistic, over the last 5 years even Griquas managed to gain a huge following because of their progress and achievements where they were always a 2nd team they now sell merchandise to fans at a profit.

    Just the idea of having rugby’s richest competition in the SH at your doorstep for the EC will change a hell of a lot. Their team this year might not be remembered much in 10 years from now, but the steps taken right now will see results in 5 to 10 years from now.

  68. Reply to Ollie @ 3:48 pm:

    The thing is that senior players living in the region that are not professional already will most likely never be. For the professional team, they only have value as fans and no more value than non playing fans. They are free to keep playing but they need to carry all their own costs.

    Juniors are different because amongst them are the future stars, but I don’t think EC juniors have less chance of being spotted than other youngsters. Scouts go where talent may be found and the players will go all over the world to play.

  69. Reply to Morné @ 6:53 pm:

    Pro teams do not draw their talent from the local stock. They draw from anywhere. Elite players are highly mobile. A region with a top pro team may have no local stock and a region with tons of young talent may have no pro team.

  70. Can someone please tell me why there are zero players from Border and particularly SWD included in the King’s 40 man squad?

    I’m punting this is solely down to Cheeky’s past arguments and aggro with SWD?

    And why do the Kings have 5 foreign players in the squad when they are only permitted 2 and more to the point why do they have the least POC’s in the South African conference?

  71. on the topic of rugby players and their motivations – another saffa playing for a European country this 6N!!

    Andries Pretorius selected for Wales… very welsh name that is

    IMO good luck to him!

  72. Reply to Timeo @ 9:52 pm:

    It’s exactly the juniors that I am referring to, who are the future of the region.

    Don’t kid yourself, the are a lot of kids in the EC that don’t get seen or that have the talent but nobody to bring it out. A lot of the youngsters cannot afford to go to “rugby” schools in the region or take the chance to up roots and move 600 – 700km to another region with no work prospects on the off chance they will be spotted and make it professionally.

    The schools also do not have the networks that the likes of Grey have to poach players from other schools from a young age.

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:24 am:
    Simple really, one season only to play and perform in the toughest competition in the year. It takes time to build a team. What would you do? Play only unexperienced players and lose out in the first year or start as strong as possible in the beginning to try and ensure that there is a future?

  73. Reply to Ollie @ 10:50 am:

    No Ollie answer the questions… forget that they are failing in POC numbers…

    Why are there no Border and SWD players in the 40 man squad? Do you know about Watson’s past dealings with them (SWD)?

    Why do they have 5 international journeyman in the squad when even now SARU have stated they are only permitted 2?

    I’ll speculate on both until I get a ‘real’ answer…

    Watson is following through with his SWD grudge… and Watson and his cronies will be putting political pressure on SARU to change their rule books to accommodate 5 international journeyman over locals or RSA expats…

  74. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:18 pm:

    Not sure of the exact reasons, but probably something else stinks there, and one can only hope that it gets sorted out pronto. I can only hope that once the team is entrenched that their can be a cull of dead and rotting wood. Won’t get my hopes up though as there is no precedent for it anywhere in SA.

    Also, I don’t think you can mix the politics of Border and SWD with bringing in 5 internationals. Solomons has basically said taht the ost important games at his time is the relegation matches and he probably will plan towards that.

  75. Reply to Ollie @ 12:58 pm:

    Some of them are, as clubs controls unions in SA. People don’t trust Cheeky – they don’t think he has the skills to establish a working franchise in the region.

    Problem is, SWD and Border are being sidelined and I unfortunately do not know how SARU can actually allow this.

  76. Perhaps it is payback for the time SWD and Border sold out the Spears.

    Reply to Ollie @ 10:50 am:

    My understanding of how it works in the Dominican Republic is that there are a lot of independent agents and scouts searching for baseball talent. They finance the coaching, nutrition, promoting and other needs of the youngsters they find and get a cut when any of their finds make it into the pros. The system is “pulled” by the big salaries in ML baseball, even though ML baseball have no teams there and no direct involvement. The agents are there because they know there is talent to be discovered and there is talent because every kid in the DR dreams about being the next star.

    Similarly SA does not need an SR team based in PE, to find and develop talent from the Transkei The system is driven by the monetary rewards in the pro-league. In the long run the most development will happen if the pro-teams are based in the places where they can generate the most money.

  77. Reply to Timeo @ 2:41 pm:

    You’re comaring apples and pears at the moment. As far as I know that level of talent scouting does not exist in rugby in SA.

    You’re also talking about an area of 48 000 km square vs 1.2 million km square. From the centre of the country it’s probably 100km max to any other point.

  78. Reply to Ollie @ 2:56 pm:

    The point is that SA should be moving in that direction. If you want your system to be successful, a good idea is to emulate systems that are already successful.

  79. Reply to Timeo @ 3:08 pm:

    Indeed, but that is a whole different discussion

    BTW, Cheeky Watson and Alan Solomons will be on Ballz Radio this afternoon. Try tweeting them just before or during the interview with a question and the chance is good that they will ask it to Cheeky, they did for me last time.

  80. Re SWD/Border.
    My point exactly. Does this sound like
    developing rugby in the EASTERN CAPE?
    (the original reason as I remember it).

    It seems this Watson c#nt can get away
    with anything – one of the reasons I will
    NOT be supporting the Kings.

    As for the Kings being a Saru decision:
    bullshit. It’s an ANC decision, just like
    the protea on the playing strip.
    Saru does not have the guts of a flea to
    resist the ANC – even at the price of
    putting the game back some years with the
    Kings decision.
    What an utter mess!

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