Deon Davids formally confirmed as the Southern Kings coach
Deon Davids was on Tuesday formally confirmed as the Southern Kings coach for the next three PRO 14 campaigns while Western Province flyhalf Kurt Coleman was also unveiled as a new signing.
Davids‚ who has led the Kings in the last two Super Rugby campaigns‚ is no stranger to building a team and is ready to roll up his sleeves and do it all over again.
And it’s something he will need to do after eight players left the franchise.
Some were on loan during Super Rugby but others such as flank Tyler Paul and wing Makazola Mapimpi took up contracts with the Sharks and the Cheetahs respectively.
“We are pleased to have retained the services of Deon Davids as head coach for the next three years of our participation in the Guinness PRO14 Championship‚” Southern Kings Chief Operation Officer‚ Charl Crous said.
“Deon has proven himself as a quality coach during his tenure as head coach of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition‚ which he led with great success.
"It was important for us after joining a premier competition like the PRO14 that we have continuity in our management team to ensure we continue to produce the high standard rugby that we have set ourselves.”
Davids guided the Kings to six wins in this year’s Super Rugby and despite losing so many players since their campaign ended‚ he is not put off by the challenge of rebuilding for the third time in 20 months.
“Luckily I’ve been here before and I have a bit of experience at dealing with rebuilding‚” Davids said.
“It will be tough after losing so many players and building a new core. But we are in a good space with the players we have identified.
“There is less than three weeks until we play against the defending champion Scarlets in Wales‚ which is a big ask. But we are looking more long-term at how we can grow and build as a franchise over the coming year.
“We are looking at the big picture. We acknowledge it will be tough in the beginning but eventually we will get to where want to be and will have a good side.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose so many players because rugby is about continuity and progression.
"It takes about a year to get to the point where everyone understands each other and to develop combinations and a culture. We have lost that again‚ but we aren’t going to moan. We just have to get on with it and start again.
“If we are accurate in our preparation and clear about what we want to achieve and how we will get there‚ we will be successful.
“We now have stability and we can contract players for longer periods while at the same time building a sustainable base through good academy structures.”
Former Bok wing Cornal Hendricks‚ who was forced out of the game with a ‘heart condition’ nearly three years ago‚ has been cleared to play and is part of the Kings squad.
Hendricks has been competing at various 10s tournaments around the world‚ proving his fitness.
All players are being medically screened this week as part of the contracting process.
More players‚ such as SA A No 8 Andile Ntsila‚ are expected to be named later in the week.
The list of these Kings squad members is: Berton Klaasen Bobby de Wee CJ Velleman Cornal Hendricks Dries van Schalkwyk Jacques Nel Jarryd Sage Khaya Majola Lubabalo Mtyanda Lusanda Badiyana Masixole Banda Ntabeni Dukisa Oliver Zono Pieter-Steyn de Wet Rowan Gouws Sbusiso Sithole Schalk Ferreira Stephan Greeff Tango Balekile Tienie Burger Victor Sekekete Yaw Penxe Kurt Coleman