• Velleman offers to play for free

    Kings director of rugby Robbie Kempson has revealed players are so desperate for action that star flank CJ Velleman has even offered to play for free for Griquas.

    This comes after the shareholders of the Southern Kings – the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby –  placed the insolvent company in voluntary liquidation.

    The decision was taken in the face of an accumulated deficit of R55 million, and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020 after the Kings withdrew from the upcoming domestic competitions in October.

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    However, this has ultimately left many of the Kings’ players unemployed and looking for new playing opportunities elsewhere. One such player is loose forward CJ Velleman, who has reportedly offered to play for Griquas in the Currie Cup for free.

    Speaking to the Herald, Kempson said he has been working tirelessly to try to get as many of the Kings players playing opportunities as he can.

    ‘To illustrate how desperate our players are, CJ Velleman was willing to take a complete salary cut on his own to play for free for Griquas. That is how desperate these players are just to play rugby.

    ‘A perfect example is CJ, who is in the prime of his life right now. He is fit and strong and ready to go, but he does not have a place to play. It is more frustration for him and I am hoping Griquas give him an opportunity.

    ‘The most tragic part of all this is that they are not getting opportunities to practise their professions. Since we were unceremoniously dropped out of the domestic competition, I have been on the phone with agents at home and abroad trying to help the players get opportunities. I will continue to do that.’

    ‘We had some great news and one of our players does now have an opportunity overseas, thank God. There are also opportunities for one or two other players, but the problem is they have not played rugby since March.  People want to see you play and they are not necessarily looking at videos from prior matches.’

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    Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Image