S. Kings snub IRB Nations Cup for Super Rugby

The Southern Kings have already started turning their back on tournaments such as the IRB Nations Cup after being assured of a place in Super Rugby next year.

The Kings played in and won the Nations Cup last year under the title the South African Kings. The Kings also failed to win promotion into the Currie Cup Premier Division as they lost to Boland in their final match.

Given that Super Rugby is one of the most demanding tournaments in the world one would expect that the Kings need as much practice and game time as possible but Kings’ coach, Alan Solomons, told Die Burger that the IRB can invite another team for this year’s event.

“It was a good event for us last year because we didn’t play Super Rugby and we at least wanted to offer our players something.”

“Now that we’ll be playing Super Rugby next year, we have decided to look at other options,” said Solomons.

Solomons said that there was a chance that the Kings could play a match against the Western Force in June this year when Super Rugby breaks for the June Internationals.

“The Nations Cup tournament last year took its toll.”

“It is quite tough because you play against three national teams in a short period. We found some of our players were spiritless towards the end of the season.”

On Friday last week SARugby announced that the Southern Kings were guaranteed a place in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament.

SARugby and SANZAR have yet to reveal the workings of how the Kings will be added to Super Rugby from 2013 as the new format is built around three geographic conferences of five teams each.

One South African team is expected to drop out but this would open up SA Rugby for legal battles due to sponsorship deals that have already been done with existing sponsors and a year of out Super rugby could easily mean financial ruin for an existing Super Rugby team.

The South African government have been pushing the Kings into Super Rugby as the government built the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for the Football world cup with the assurance that SARugby would put a Super Rugby team into the stadium in return for government backing of SARugby’s bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup almost five years ago.

The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium is becoming a “White Elephant” as it has hardly been used since the Football World cup in 2010 but regular use from a Super Rugby team would solve this albeit at the expense of possibly Ellis Park or the Free State Stadium if either one of the Cheetahs or Lions are dropped to make way for the Kings.

The Kings have a match later this week on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against the Bulls.

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