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Southern Kings on PRO14 'tightrope'

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Southern Kings on 'tightrope with PRO14' says new owner

The PRO14 table doesn’t make for happy reading for the Southern Kings, second from bottom in Conference B with just two wins to their name this season, the lowest win total in the 14-team league. The only reason they’re not bottom is by virtue of picking up seven losing bonus points and five try-scoring bonus points, keeping them ahead of the Dragons.

Things looked promising when the Kings beat last season’s PRO14 semi-finalists Glasgow Warriors 38-28 in round four. However their only other victory this season came in January, a 25-21 success over Edinburgh Rugby, a team they’d lost 38-0 to three weeks previously.

In February the South African side shipped over 100 points in two matches against Irish opposition, a 43-0 walloping against Munster, was followed by a 59-19 defeat at Leinster, neither side had their full international contingent either due to the Six Nations.

Southern Kings captain Michael Willemse during match with Ulster in Port Elizabeth in September 2018. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

The Kings are under new ownership, ‘The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC)’ snapped up a 74% stake in the franchise for a reported fee of 45 million rand, which is less than GBR£2.5million.

Loyiso Dotwana, who is chairman of GRC, admits PRO14 organisers have flagged worries over the Kings results.

“There is an expectation that we will throw money at a whole bunch of marquee players. But that’s not the case‚” Dotwana told TimesLIVE.

“Obviously we are looking for a few big names to bolster the side‚ but the plan is steady growth and improvement.

“The PRO 14 organisation has raised concerns about the Southern Kings’ performances and value to the tournament.

“We are on a tightrope with PRO 14 and we will respond to those challenges in a positive way. So we will recruit some good players in the short term to improve our quality.

Dotwana also says that head coach Deon Davids will also get “new assistants and expertise” to aid the Kings improvement.

You may also like: Rugby Explorer – South Africa. Big Jim explores the stunning cities of Cape Town and Porth Elizabeth and meets the local rugby communities in both cities.

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Southern Kings on 'tightrope with PRO14' says new owner