Cape Town - Nick Mallett has turned down the opportunity to feature on the panel who will pick the new Southern Kings head coach.
News reports last week indicated that the former Springbok coach would help the Kings find a suitable candidate to replace Deon Davids.
However, the news made headlines for the wrong reasons when Kings board member Bantwini Matika expressed his dissatisfaction at Mallett's involvement.
Via a Facebook post, Matika called Mallett a racist and claimed he was not in favour of transformation. He also swore and said there was institutional racism in rugby.
The Kings' majority shareholders, the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (GRC), called for the removal of Matika following his social media rant.
Matika is however also the deputy president of the EP Rugby Union (EPRU) which refused to remove him from his post.
The Kings subsequently confirmed that Mallett had declined the offer.
"Mr Nick Mallett, who was also earmarked to form part of the panel, declined the invitation due to the events of the past few days," the Kings said via a press statement on Tuesday.
The Kings also confirmed a seven-man panel to pick the new head coach, with over 50 applications received for the vacant position.
The panel will be headed by Kings chairperson Loyiso Dotwana and director of high performance Rob Kempson.
It also includes respected commentator and EPRU board member Makhaya Jack as well as former Junior Springbok captain Kaunda Ntunja.
The Southern Kings Rugby Committee will sift through the applications and shortlist the candidates that meet the criteria. The shortlisted candidates will then undergo a thorough interviewing process and the panel will make their recommendations to the board, who will then make the final decision on the appointment of the new coach.
"We have put together a group of knowledgeable and qualified members who are familiar with the ambitious plans of the board to make the Southern Kings a winning team," Dotwana said.
"The board was united in their approval of this panel and look forward to their recommendations after the conclusion of an in-depth interviewing process to find the best-suited candidate for the head coach position."
Seven-man Kings panel:
Loyiso Dotwana (Kings chairperson)
Rob Kempson (Director of High Performance)
Odwa Mtati (Enterprise Development Specialist)
Makhaya Jack (EPRU Board Member)
Kaunda Ntunja (SuperSport rugby commentator and former Junior Springbok captain)
Anthony Heugh (World Rugby Coaching Educator)
Glen Zamisa (Human Resources Specialist)