Embattled Kings dealt another blow as coach walks out

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2015 10:57 AM

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Embattled South African Super Rugby side the Southern Kings were dealt another blow when head coach Brent Janse van Rensburg resigned on Wednesday, two weeks after being appointed.

The cash-strapped Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPR), who have temporarily handed over the running of the Port Elizabeth-based franchise to the South African Rugby Union, confirmed they were seeking a replacement.

Janse van Rensburg had led the team in the domestic Currie Cup this year and was appointed to coach the Super Rugby side on Nov 18.

Neither he nor the EPR offered any explanation for his resignation.

“We appreciate Brent’s commitment to the task assigned to him and the many hours he worked in preparing the team for various competitions this year,” EPR president Cheeky Watson said in a statement.

The Kings have lost a number of players in recent weeks after they were able to break their contracts due to the non-payment of salaries.

They included captain Tim Whitehead, prop Lizo Gqoboka and wing Luther Obi, the latter two to the Bulls who are also said to be in talks with Sylvian Mahuza, Thembelani Bholi and Tim Agaba.

Watson said that despite the setbacks the Kings, South Africa’s sixth franchise in an expanded 18-team Super Rugby tournament in 2016, were confident of being ready for their tournament opener against the Sharks in Port Elizabeth on Feb. 27.

“We are in regular discussion with the SA Rugby Union, who have taken over the organisation of the franchise, on the way forward and there is much work being done behind the scenes to ensure the Southern Kings squad is properly prepared for its return to Super Rugby in February,” Watson said.

(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Clare Fallon)