The Kings aim to re-establish their academy by the end of the year in an effort to retain their best talent.
The announcement was made on Thursday as part of the strategy of the Kings’ new owners, The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC). The old Kings Academy collapsed in 2017.
The move is a massive step forward for the Kings, who have struggled to hold on to their talent and have witnessed the likes of Lukhanyo Am and Sergeal Petersen move to other franchises.
Speaking at a stakeholder conference, the new chairman of the Kings, Loyiso Dotwana, said that the franchise, which is the first black-owned one in the country, would be run along key business principles.
‘Our business model will enable the pooling of resources and talents to operate a smaller but professional high-performance team,’ Dotwana said. ‘Ultimately our organisation will reflect what South African businesses can become and should be.’
The GRC recently purchased a majority 74% shareholding in the franchise from SA Rugby, enabling SA Rugby to pass on a 26% shareholding to the Eastern Province Rugby Union.
‘This gives them an equity position within a professional rugby team and also the opportunity to participate in our community programmes, which will be targeted at developing rugby at a grassroots level, recognising that the Eastern Cape is the home of black rugby in South Africa,’ Dotwana added.
‘We are playing against the best professional clubs in the world and need to significantly up our game to ensure that we are formidable competitors. This is all about playing quality rugby.’