SA Rugby has confirmed that the EP Kings will play in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup this season.
On Monday, SA Rugby said there was a proposal being put forward for the Leopards to replace the Kings in the Premier Division, but ultimately this plan failed to receive the unanimous approval of the general council.
In the end, the Kings received a lifeline when it was announced on Thursday that a R20-million support package by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality would enable them to remain involved in the Premier Division. An amount of R6-million has already been budgeted for support towards the union, with the NMB council expected to ratify the increased allocation shortly.
The municipality city manager, Johann Mettler, has been tasked to ensure that a suitable vehicle is established to drive the support package in consultation with EP (through its SA Rugby administrator Monde Tabata) and the EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd liquidator.
Negotiations are also underway to procure suitable players, coaching staff and a CEO to manage the affairs of the entity.
EP’s scheduled fixture against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday has been postponed in consultation with the hosting union. EP will play their first game in round two on 13 August.
'We’ve worked very hard in the last few weeks to find a solution to the challenges in Eastern Province,' SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said. 'We are very grateful that the metro has pledged their support and we’re confident that they will be able to assist with procuring additional sponsors for the Kings.'
The date of the postponed Griquas vs Kings game will be announced at a later stage.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images