How do we accommodate a sixth Super Rugby side and keep everyone happy (I am going to operate on the assumption that South Africa will continue to have six franchises. This seems logical as there has been no indication to the contrary.)?
I, for one, of am the opinion that forcing the current franchises to play the Kings is an empty gesture if that is the measure of SARU’s ‘help’ and the measure of the King’s game time during the current year. It is a start and a step in the right direction, but that is all it is. More needs to be done. I have some ideas on what could be done.
1. SARU must ensure that the Kings receives enough game time against quality opposition to attract spectators to the games. This will have a tripple benefit for the Kings in that a) they will build a solid support base in the community, b) they will bring in valuable gate revenues, without which a franchise cannot survive, and c) the players will receive valuable game time against quality opposition. This will only benefit Bok rugby as the talent pool increases.
2. SARU must ensure that all King’s games are televised. Without this exposure no sponsors will be willing to come on board.
3. The Kings (and whoever in future gets dropped for them, if that happens) must organise games against the international teams touring South Africa (i.e. this year they could have played against England).
4. The Kings should be willing to travel to other countries to play friendlies against quality opposition (the Force want to play against a Currie Cup team during their three week break during the international window, why don’t they play against the Kings?). They must actively seek these games, not only to expose their players to quality opposition, but also to expose their brand to the world. These friendlies could include the following:
- Playing Argentina as a warm-up before the Rugby Championship kicks off
- Playing against the Six Nations teams as a warm-up for them
- Playing against New Zealand or Australian Super Rugby teams (why just stick to our local sides?)
5. The Kings should continue to represent South Africa in the Nations Cup. The Team can be known as the South African Kings (or South African Bulls, South African Lions etc.).
6. SARU can negotiate to have the Kings join an overseas league such as the Heineken Cup, Pro12 etc. This would add spice to fixtures and would ensure great interest from the media, sponsors and the rugby public in general.
7. A promotion-relegation series of matches must be played at the end of the year between the Kings and the team finishing last in the South African conference. This will be played over three matches (if required) on a home-and-away basis.
The possibilities are endless, but someone needs to take the initiative and do something decisive, otherwise there will be major unhappiness and rugby will be the big loser at the end of the day.Tweet