Luke Watson to leave Bath for Southern Kings

Arguably South African Rugby’s most unpopular Springbok Luke Watson has signed with the Southern Kings and will leave Bath to join the Kings before the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Watson will play for the Eastern Kings on his return to South Africa from June/July 2011 and should the Southern Kings be included in Super Rugby he will play for them in the expanded tournament after signing a three year contract.

Watson’s father Cheeky Watson is president of the EP Kings who play in the Currie Cup first division and are hoping to gain promotion to the Premier Division. Watson has represented and captained the South African Schools rugby team (2001), South Africa’s under 19 (2002) and under 21 (2004) teams, as well as the Springbok Sevens team (2001).

Watson has also captained both the Western Province and the Super 14 Stormers.

In 2007 Watson was handed his first Springbok cap due to direct political interference from SARU Boss Regan Hoskins and then in 2008 he was again surrounded by controversy when he said that wearing the Springbok jersey made him want to vomit.

Watson joined Bath Rugby in November 2009 and has been largely controversy free since leaving South Africa and has gone on to captain Bath.

Eastern Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons who assisted Barbarians coach Nick Mallett on the weekend says that Watson’s signing shows the Union’s intent of being a force in South African rugby as they attempt to gain entry into South African rugby’s upper leagues.

“Our main drive is to build a team capable of winning the Currie Cup First Division in 2011 and one good enough to win the promotion play-off matches and after that be successful in the Currie Cup Premier Division and Super Rugby,” Solomons is quoted in an official release from the EP Kings by Keo.

Watson himself has confirmed the move by writing on his Twitter account and wrote, “I’ll be joining them in June/July 2011”

“I’ll be returning to SA after the completion of this season with Bath. I have signed a 3 year contract with the Eastern Province Kings.” tweeted Watson.

“However the opportunity to return home to SA and especially to my home city PE, is one that I have to grab with both hands!” he added.

Head Coach, Steve Meehan, added “Of course we are sad to see Luke leave, he
has been a very inspirational member of the squad for us, both on and off the
field, but we respect his decision.”

Also in Bath, The Lions are said to be attempting to sign Butch James as well as Racing Metro’s Frans Steyn.

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