Former Springbok assistant coach Alan Solomons will coach the new Eastern Cape franchise, the Southern Kings, when they tackle the British and Irish Lions in Port Elizabeth on June 16.
Rugby 365 reports that Eastern Province Rugby Union president Cheeky Watson told a media conference that Solomons, who is also in line for the position as Director of Rugby in the East Cape, will be head coach for this one match only.
Watson said an agreement had been reached with current Mighty Elephants head coach Chris Grobler, who will step down – along with his assistant coach Ronnie Korkie, who will also be relieved of his duties.
EPRU Chief Executive Anele Pamba confirmed that the government had given its full support to the launch of the Southern Kings Super Rugby franchise on June 16.
“There will be a logo of either the East Cape Tourism department or Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism on the Southern Kings jersey on June 16,” Pamba told the media in Port Elizabeth.
Solomons, who has crisscrossed the globe as a coach, said it was a “big honour” to be asked to coach a team against the B&I Lions.
Solomons, currently the IRB’s high performance consultant, had coached the Springboks – as an assistant to Nick Mallett, the Stormers, Ulster and Northampton Saints.
“Port Elizabeth is where I went to school and it will be a pleasure in what is my home town franchise,” Solomons said of the June 16 showdown.
Solomons is open minded about taking on the full-time role of Director of Rugby if the Kings gain entry to an expanded Super Rugby competition.
“It is something that I will be considering,” said Solomons, who was head coach at the Cape Town-based Stormers before moving to Northern Ireland in 2001.
“It is a case of wait and see what transpires. I have been busy with International Board work and will be travelling quite a lot until the end of the month.”
* Although not confirmed yet, it is common knowledge that retired Springbok prop Robbie Kempson will be Solomons’s assistant.Tweet