• Kings crisis a ‘Greek tragedy’

    EP rugby president Cheeky Watson has no intention of stepping down, despite the ongoing financial crisis that has seen Saru step in to take control of the Kings.

    Addressing the media at the EP rugby offices on Wednesday, Watson remained defiant in the face of increasing pressure.

    ‘This has never been about Cheeky Watson, it is about the Kings, it has always been about the Kings,' he said. 'I’m not holding onto this position. If someone wants to step in, by all means.’

    Watson welcomed the intervention of Saru to assist the Kings.

    ‘There has always been a Plan B. I put the call in to Saru to come and bring stability, so that we can stop haemorrhaging players and focus on our preparations for Super Rugby. The cash-flow crisis we have experienced is like a Greek tragedy. We want to thank Saru for stepping in to assist and we welcome whatever contributions they bring.’

    Part of the intervention will see Saru’s coaching mobi-unit coming in to support the Kings’ staff, with Brent Janse van Rensburg confirmed as the head coach for the 2016 season.

    Addressing the loss of five senior players, four of whom are players of colour, Watson said this was highly regrettable, but also expressed the Kings’ intent to loan certain players from other unions.

    ‘Unions have indicated that they will make fringe players available. What I have found is that given the opportunity, these players will rise to the occasion.’

    Discussing the issue of salaries still not being paid out, Watson said that the junior team players had been paid on Wednesday, but that the senior players and staff were still owed their wages.

    ‘The funding for the junior players comes from broadcasting rights received by the union from Saru.’

    Watson said he was still confident that the funding from a proposed R200-million sponsorship would materialise, but said he did not want to commit to any new timelines.

    ‘I have already broken every timeline given. I am nervous to come up with another.’

    Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

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    Craig Lewis