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Ex-Springbok quotes Ronald Reagan as crisis fund-raiser launched for unpaid Kings

By Liam Heagney

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Former Springboks midfielder Braam van Straaten has issued an emotional video message quoting ex-USA President Ronald Reagan in an attempt to raise funds for players and staff of the Southern Kings, the South African PRO14 franchise who went into liquidation last weekend.

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With the Port Elizabeth-based club declared a busted flush, it has emerged that none of the Kings’ 36 players and 16 coaches and staff were paid for the month of September and van Straaten, the 21-cap Bok who also played for Sale and Leeds in England, has called on the rugby family worldwide to help alleviate the pay crisis.

In a 33-second video, Kings assistant coach van Straaten said: “Good morning South Africa and the rugby fraternity around the world. The liquidation of the Kings is not a dream, it’s our reality.

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RugbyPass pays a visit to the Southern Kings in Rugby Explorer
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RugbyPass pays a visit to the Southern Kings in Rugby Explorer

“As Ronald Reagan said and I quote, ‘You can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone’. These boys really do need your help. Please donate and show how much we care. I’m Braam van Straaten from the Southern Kings. Amen and God bless.”

Kings were one of the two South African franchises to join the PRO14 in 2017 following their exclusion from Super Rugby. However, their results were dreadful, the club winning just four of its 55 matches and attracting minuscule attendances to its home games.

Faced with an accumulated deficit of R55m (£2.5m) and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020, the Kings shareholders, the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby, took the decision to go into voluntary liquidation.

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“The hard fact is that the Kings are insolvent, with significant debts and zero assets and it would have been reckless of the board to continue to trade,” said board chairman Andre Rademan last weekend.

SA Rugby resumed ownership of a 74 per cent shareholding in the PRO14 Kings in June following the failure of the previous owners – the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (GRC) – to honour contractual commitments in relation to its purchase of the shares.

The GRC acquired the shareholding in January 2019 but were unable to deliver the promised turnaround, leaving the Kings struggling to build a sustainable business model.

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PRO 14    

Ex-Springbok quotes Ronald Reagan as crisis fund-raiser launched for unpaid Kings

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