I have been watching this EP Kings saga for the soap opera that it has become. Cheeky Watson and his followers have engineered their way into Super Rugby in a laughable and contradictory manner.
Their intentions of getting in to Super Rugby was to promote local rugby and local players. Since getting their grant for a chance to compete, they have gone about completely contradicting their original agenda. They have gone and poached the talent of fringe players from the bigger unions, as well as the ultimate slap in the face to Saru, the demand of 6 foreign players for their squad next year.
How on earth can you say with one breath how you want to promote local talent, and with the next demand a rule change (yet another one) for foreign players. Surely they will be taking the place of the local talent you are supposed to be promoting?
The other point I find humorous with the EP Kings, is that they have kept their ‘Eastern Province’ name. Now correct me if I am wrong, but there is no such thing as Eastern Province in South Africa anymore. I would think Cheeky and Luke Watson, with their clear allegiances to the new and changed South Africa would notice something like this, and ensure the change. I find it ironic that these two, with such strong feelings against the old South Africa (re Puke Gate), that something like this would have been changed to possibly the ‘Eastern Cape’ Southern Kings.
I question the motives of Cheeky and his gang as far as local talent is concerned. I am all for the intention of giving more people a chance, but it doesn’t make logical sense. Surely the current bigger unions, who scout the school network ferociously, and are in constant battles in order to sign the top talents of the entire country, are doing this job? How will the Kings, a much smaller and less attractive union do this any better?
I will end with this, I am very pro to the idea of finding more talent, whether it be blue, black, green, purple. To me, Springbok and South African rugby SHOULD not be about colour, but rather trophies, and having the right systems in place in order to get those trophies. It just seems to me that The EP Kings have everything but trophies as their focus, and for this reason, I sincerely hope that this is an experiment by Saru, and once they see it is a complete failure, they go back to worrying about rugby, and not one man and his marching band.
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