Newly-appointed Kings high-performance director Robbie Kempson says their new owners want to have a sustainable impact on Eastern Cape rugby. DYLAN JACK reports.
SA Rugby made the long-awaited confirmation earlier this month that a 74% shareholding in the franchise had been sold to The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World, which is headed by new Kings chairman Loyiso Dotwana.
It marked the start of a new era for the Kings, who have long been troubled by financial mismanagement, resulting in the loss of many home-grown players.
Speaking to SARugbymag.co.za, Kempson said the new consortium is in it for the long run.
‘They are very ambitious. They are all local gentlemen and want to see the Eastern Cape have a prominent side in an international competition. They want to try and bring a lot of our local guys home and build something sustainable.
‘They don’t want something that is just a quick fix. They want something that is long-term, especially in the Eastern Cape.’
Kempson admitted it was not in his original plans to stay on long-term with the franchise.
‘Deon [Davids] was looking for a forwards coach, he did not have one from the start of the season,’ Kempson said. ‘At that time, I was pursuing other ventures so I could not get involved in the rugby side. As December came around, I found I had more time. In early February, the consortium approached me, in particular regarding systems involving the academy.’
Davids’ contract as head coach is set to expire after the 2019-20 season, but Kempson says the Kings would like to keep him on for longer.
‘We are looking forward to ensuring we continue the growth that Deon started and ensuring the team is competitive going forward. Our job is to make his job easier. I have already chatted to Deon and there are ideas for the Kings to bring in new coaching resources and make sure that we bolster that area. We cannot be ambitious with regard to the recruitment of players without bolstering our coaching resources.’