Southern Kings playing Super Rugby? You gotta be kidding!

The Southern Kings, collectively consisting of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU), the Border Rugby Union (BRU) and the South Western Districts Rugby Union (SWDRU), are now demanding that they be included in the Super 15 rugby competition by 2011.

I am all for expansion of Super Rugby, but then it has to be beneficial to Super Rugby and the marketing of the franchise. In my opinion, when Super Rugby went from Super 12 to Super 14 (12 to 14 teams), the quality of the game suffered. Not because there were more teams, but that the teams added brought nothing to the franchise that excited rugby lovers. When the franchise was still known as the Super 12, South Africa had a team called the Cats, which comprised of the current Cheetahs and Lions teams. It was a competitive team as the Cats. However, since the Super 14, neither of these two teams amounted to much. This year, after the first 10 weeks of the Super 14, the Lions are at the very bottom of the log with no wins and the Cheetahs are second last with only 2 wins. Had the two teams remained as the Cats, they would have performed much better.

Now that the Southern Kings is making their demand of inclusion into the 2011 Super 15, one would wonder what they think would be the benefit to the franchise. It is highly unlikely that they will become a truly competitive team, which means that they will most probably endure loss after loss, year after year. IMHO, the jump from Currie Cup First Division (CCFD) to Super Rugby will be a mountain too high to climb for this team. Between the teams comprising the Southern Kings, they ended 2nd (SWDRU), 4th (EPRU) and 5th (BRU) on the log at the end of the CCFD season in 2009. These teams are not even good enough to play in the Currie Cup Premier Division (CCPD), let alone Super 15!

It is truly laughable for them to think that they can truly compete at this international level of rugby when they are actually weak in local rugby. Before they think they can make it in the Super 15, they should rather consider plying their trade as a single unit in the CCPD. This way they will get experience playing against players that have played at the Super Rugby level. And, this should not just be a one year stint, but rather for several years until they have proven themselves as possible competitors in Super Rugby.

Rather than break the spirit of the players that will get hammered in the Super 15, these players need to be prepared first before they can take the step onto the Super Rugby platform.

If the Southern Kings are included into Super Rugby, they certainly will become the laughing stock in the franchise, and that would definitely not be good for South Africa, since we will then have 3 teams at the bottom of the log.

All I can say to the management of the Southern Kings is that they need to reconsider their demands and come up with a true and practical solution for the preparation of the franchise to ensure a smooth inclusion into Super Rugby. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

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