EP Kings coach Robbie Kempson says that despite the less than ideal preparation for their Currie Cup campaign, he has been encouraged by a group of young players that ‘just want to play’, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Due to the ongoing financial crisis that has beset EP Rugby, players will not be able to receive a match salary during the competition, with the recently named Currie Cup squad predominantly having to be made up of academy and age-group players.
At this stage, no contracted senior players will form part of the Currie Cup group, although plans are in place for some peripheral Southern Kings players to move across from the Super Rugby squad when they are in need of game time.
‘There have obviously been some real challenges in trying to get a full squad together and ready,’ Kempson told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘We’ve had very limited time together, but I’m hopeful that we can be competitive. For these players, it’s just about having an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Even without pay, they just want to play.’
The Kings will kick off the first stage of their Currie Cup campaign against the SWD Eagles this Saturday, and in light of the various off-field challenges, Kempson said their goals for the season would need to be realistic.
‘It’s obviously not an ideal situation, but this young group of players are determined to go out there and prove themselves. I’m hopeful that we can be competitive, and for us it’s just about assessing how they perform and who can take the team forward. If we can build something sustainable for the future we would have done pretty well.’
Forwards: Brandon Brown, David Murray, Gerrit Huisamen, Greg Jackson, Hayden Tharatt, JP Jamieson, Kevin Kaba, Lusanda Badiyana, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Roche van Zyl, SF Nieuwoudt, Sintu Manjezi (vice-captain), Tango Balekile, Mzuvukile Sofisa, Warrick Venter, Wynand Grassmann, Stephan Zaayman.