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PRO 14    

Former SA U20 stars targeted

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PRO 14    

Kings and Stormers ready to bolster squads with former South Africa U20 stars

The Kings have been making waves since they were taken over by The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World, with the firm acquiring a 74% share in the team back in March.

The Guinness PRO14 club are the first South African side to be independently owned in the modern era and it didn’t take long for the rumour mill to whir into action, with former All Black Julian Savea one of the first names linked with the team. That move didn’t come to be, although with a partnership formed between the Kings and Toulon, not to mention well-publicised issues between Savea and Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal, the link was understandable.

The Kings are busy remodelling their squad for the 2019/20 season, though, and recently announced contracts extensions for core members of their senior squad, including Yaw Penxe, CJ Velleman and S’bura Sithole, as well as the signing of Irish lock Jerry Sexton.

Sexton could soon be followed by two further additions to the pack at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with Cheetahs pair Junior Pokomela and Sintu Manjezi both being lined up, per HeraldLIVE.

Pokomela, 22, and Manjezi, 24, both grew up in or around the Port Elizabeth area, before playing their youth rugby with the Eastern Province Kings. Pokomela left for the Cheetahs in 2017, a year after impressing for the South African U20 side at the Junior World Championship, whilst Manjezi joined him in Bloemfontein a year later in 2018.

With the Kings now financially better able to retain talent, they seem keen to bring back these two homegrown products and bolster a back row unit that already includes Velleman and Andisa Ntsila.

Pokomela and Manjezi are not the only EP Kings academy graduates that could be on the move this summer, either, with RugbyPass sources confirming that current Sharks centre Jeremy Ward is in the sights of the Stormers.

Ward, 23, is a former South Africa U20 captain and starred alongside Pokomela at the 2016 edition of the tournament. He made the move to the Sharks in 2017 but has struggled to breakthrough into the first team, in part due to the form of Lukhanyo Am.

If Ward were to move to the Stormers for the 2020 Super Rugby season, he would find himself in a competition with JJ Engelbrecht to partner Damian de Allende in head coach Robbie Fleck’s midfield.

With the Sharks set to lose Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Robert du Preez to Sale Sharks at the end of this season, as well as possibly Ward to the Stormers, the Durban-based Sharks could find themselves in the market for a number of reinforcements in the coming months.

Watch: The controversial Nations Championship is back on the agenda

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Kings and Stormers ready to bolster squads with former South Africa U20 stars