The Southern Kings on Sunday announced the signing of the first 20 players to their Vodacom Super Rugby squad.
The group will report for duty at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday for the continuation of administration and logistical preparations as well as working on strength and conditioning programmes. More signings will be made before the completed squad report for duty on 4 January.
The South African Rugby Union confirmed the players would be paid during the course of the week for November and December by a new holding company created, and wholly owned, by Saru to manage the financial affairs of the Southern Kings. Charl Crous – the CEO of the Eastern Province Rugby Union – was also confirmed as the chief operating officer of the Southern Kings. He has relinquished his role at the EPRU to take up the position.
In related news, the Kings will also be launching their season ticket sales and replica team clothing range at the Kings’ club shop in the Port Elizabeth Boardwalk on Monday. A Ticketpro office will also be available at the shop.
Saru CEO Jurie Roux said: 'There have been a number of obstacles to overcome but we have made considerable progress in the past week. There has been a lot of overheated speculation about all manner of things but we have not lost sight of our responsibility.
'Our only desire has been to rescue the Southern Kings from the parlous state in which they found themselves and put together a competitive squad to represent the people of the Eastern Cape with pride in Super Rugby.
'A new company has had to be formed to do that and with the assistance of the South African Rugby Players’ Association we have signed a number of the Eastern Province Kings whom our rugby department identified as fitting into a Super Rugby squad.
'Our implementation team is in discussions with other unions and players to complete the signing of the squad that we have in mind.'
Roux said that further announcements would be made as and when signings were completed.
Southern Kings signings (to date):
Malcolm Jaer (20) Fullback
Siyanda Grey (26) Wing/centre
JP du Plessis (24) Centre
Stefan Watermeyer (27) Centre
Elgar Watts (30) Flyhalf
Louis Fouché (25) Flyhalf
Shane Gates (23) Flyhalf
James Hall (19) Scrumhalf
Kevin Luiters (23) Scrumhalf
Aidon Davis (21) No 8
Sipato Junior Pokomela (19) No 8
Cyril-John Velleman (20) Flank
Stefan Willemse (23) Flank
Thembelani Bholi (25) Flank
Cornell Hess (26) Lock
Steven Sykes (31) Lock
Tyler Paul (20) Lock/flank
Schalk Ferreira (31) Prop
Tom Botha (25) Prop
Edgar Marutlulle (27) Hooker
Photo: Marty Melville/AFP Photo