Regardless of how they got there or who they forced out, South Africans should stop their whining and support the Southern Kings, particularly against Australian and New Zealand teams.
The number of South Africans calling the Kings and “embarrassment to South African Rugby” and willing the Kings to lose against the Western Force in their inaugural Super Rugby match was not only shocking but revolting. We have to be the only country in the world that wills our very own to lose. It’s understandable that Lions supporters are not happy that their team was demoted but they should not blame the Kings for how SARU handled the situation.
The Kings are a part of Super Rugby now. It is already a daunting task when you are the new kids on the block and their mission is made that much more intimidating by the fact their country does not support them. The Eastern Cape deserves a seat at the Super Rugby table and it’s about time South Africans recognise that. Grey PE has produced some phenomenal rugby players and the region lost them to the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls, etc. This would not have happened if there was a Super Rugby team in their home province. Players like Sergeal Petersen, the teenager who scored two tried in the Kings’ first game, would not have stuck around if the Kings were not promised a piece of the Super Rugby pie.
South Africa is blessed with an abundance of rugby talent. The Kings will be yet another team to facilitate and showcase this. Another competitive and thriving rugby union will only be to the benefit of South African Rugby. But the Southern Kings are about more than just rugby, they have the power to transform the face of SA Rugby without the need for “quotas”. Their introduction to Super Rugby will allow the Eastern Cape to produce talented players of colour who could walk into any team around the world – this is the future of the Kings.
The critics are quick to point out that their win against the Force is just the beginning and I agree! This is just the start of the fantastic things we will come to see from the Southern Kings! It may not be today or tomorrow but the Southern Kings will become a force to be reckoned with.