The Eastern Province Kings’ injury list just keeps on growing as a further 6 players have been added to the ‘already injured’ list.
Knee injuries seems to be common among the EP Kings players – 5 players have already undergone surgery and will be out for a number of weeks – and lock Steven Sykes has now added his name to that list.
Aidon Davis (6 months), Gary van Aswegen (2 weeks), George Whitehead (2 months), Cameron Lindsay (9 months) and Luke Watson (pre-season) have all already had knee surgery and a call on Sykes’ availability for the final Round clash with DHL Western Province will be decided later in the week.
Other than Sykes, there are a further 5 players who emerged with injuries following their 27 / 48 defeat at the hands of the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Martin Ferreira (dead leg), Tom Botha (elbow), Dwayne Kelly (hamstring strain), Tim Whitehead (AC joint) and Luther Obi (ankle sprain) will all be treated and monitored during the week.
The Eastern Province Kings, for the 3rd time this year, have taken to public protest over unpaid salaries.
The EP Kings matchday 22 wore white armbands in their 27 / 48 Currie Cup loss to the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
This move was in support of non-playing squad members who have to date not received their salaries for the month September.
On 2 occasions this year the players went on strike over unpaid wages – 1st over their June and July wages, which was eventually paid when the South African Rugby Union bailed out the EP Rugby Union, and then against in August.
It is unclear who bailed the EP Rugby Union out the 2nd time.
Flyhalf Elgar Watts will make his 1st start for the Eastern Province Kings for their match against the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.
The talented Watts, who replaces Karlo Aspeling, has played from the bench in the Kings’ last 2 matches and now gets a chance to establish himself as the frontrunner for the pivot position.
“We feel that Elgar has picked up enough rhythm and confidence to start against the Bulls and we will be looking to him to get things going,” Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg said.
In 2 changes to the forwards, flank Thembelani Bholi and prop Lizo Gqoboka are back in the starting line-up, replacing Paul Schoeman and Schalk Ferreira respectively.
Eastern Province Kings flank Luke Watson will have an operation for a knee contusion, with a cartilage flap on Wednesday.
The inspirational leader has been a peripheral figure for the past 2 seasons because of injury.
The EP Kings have been struggling to build momentum and Watson’s presence would have been a huge lift for the men from the windy city.
The EP Kings released their latest injury report on Monday.
Wing Siyanda Grey is the only new injury concern after the weekend’s 9 / 20 loss to the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit.
The Xerox Golden Lions reigned over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their ABSA Currie Cup derby on Saturday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria thanks to a thrilling 36 / 28 win in their Top of the Table clash.
Johan Ackermann’s outfit consolidated their position on the Top of the Premier Division standings and at the same time opened up a 4 point lead over their Northern neighbours, who suffered their 1st defeat of the campaign.
Last year’s winners, DHL Western Province, strengthened their grip on 3rd place with a gritty 37 / 27 away win over the Cell C Sharks in Durban. Elsewhere, the ORC Griquas and the Eastern Province Kings scored their 1st wins of the competition.
In Kimberley, the Griquas prevailed 32 / 15 over the Steval Pumas while a 14-man EP Kings side defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs by 32 / 24 at home in Port Elizabeth.
With just 4 Rounds of ordinary league action remaining before the play-off’s, the Xerox Golden Lions are leading the race for semi-final places. They have 29 Log points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls (25), DHL Western Province (20), Cell C Sharks (13), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (12), Steval Pumas (9), Eastern Province Kings (7) and ORC Griquas (6).
EP Kings (16) 32 / 24 (19) FS Cheetahs (Final Score)
The Eastern Province Kings and Toyota Free State Cheetahs did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup at
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Japan’s hopes of playing in the 2016 Super Rugby tournament still appear to be doomed but their exit could also force the Southern Kings out of the expanded tournament.
The Japanese Rugby Union formed the Japan Super Rugby Association (JSRA) to run the new Super Rugby team but the JSRA has struggled to sign players for the new team.
Their expectation was that the Japanese Top League teams would release players to the Super Rugby team but they don’t want to do that and instead they want the Top League to be considered at a higher level than Super Rugby.
SANZAR are believed to be so concerned about the situation in Japan that they have started discussing alternate tournament models for the 2016 season and possibly beyond.
Tournament organizers SANZAR gave Japan a deadline on 31 August last month to show a list of 20 contracted players but reports suggest that the standard of players is not at a level that will make the new Asian team competitive.
Reports in Australia say that SANZAR are now considering taking the Super Rugby licence away from Japan indefinitely.
The writing appeared to be on the wall early last month when Japan coach Eddie Jones announced that he would not be re-signing with the national side and he would not be available as the new Japanese team’s Director of Rugby.
While the Japan team’s inclusion seems unlikely it is understood that the 6th South African side, the Southern Kings are also struggling to sign a full squad and in recent months there have been financial problems and player strikes due to wages not being paid.
EP Kings Kings coach, Brent Janse van Rensburg, has called back a host of his stalwarts for friday’s match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.
Experienced centre Tim Whitehead will lead the EP Kings as they chase their 1st ABSA Currie Cup win this season – at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth.
Regular captain Luke Watson remains sidelined with a leg injury, however, lock Steven Sykes is back from a rib problem to lead the pack.
Van Rensburg has made several changes to the team which went down to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
He said he believed they had the best combination to combat the Free State Cheetahs.
Whitehead is partnered by JP du Plessis in the centres and Ronnie Cooke is replaced at centre, due to a broken toe.
Sykes starts ahead of Cornell Hess, who is dropped to the bench.
Eastern Province Kings fullback Hansie Graaff was suspended for 1 match, after being found guilty of striking an opponent in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday.
As a result of the sanction he will miss the EP King’s next match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.
Following their 37 / 21 Currie Cup defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg at the weekend, the EP Kings have reported new injury concerns.
- Lock Cameron Lindsay suffered a knee injury in the defeat and will see a specialist on Wednesday.
- Centre Ronnie Cooke picked up a toe injury and was sent for X-rays on Monday.
- JP du Plessis who replaced Cook, also suffered an injury. Du Plessis has a soft tissue knee injury and will be monitored during the week.
- Lock Steven Stykes – who missed last week’s clash due to a rib injury – will also be monitored during the week.
Players on the long-term injury list include flyhalf / centre Shane Gates (foot), flank Jacques Engelbrecht (hip), lock David Bulbring (shoulder), flyhalf Gary van Aswegen (knee), flank Aidon Davis (knee) and flyhalf / fullback George Whitehead (knee).
Golden Lions (27) 37 / 21 (14) EP Kings (Final Score)
The Xerox Golden Lions and Eastern Province Kings did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup at
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Eastern Province Kings will field a team against the Xerox Golden Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
However, it does not resemble their 1st-choice 15 in any way.
It was confirmed late on Thursday that the Currie Cup Round 5 encounter in Johannesburg will go ahead, after several days of uncertainty – the result of EP Kings players going on strike over non-payment of salaries.
The South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA), when they arrived in Port Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon, were informed that the outstanding salaries had been paid.
However, the veil of secrecy remained over the entire saga, as nobody was prepared to comment.
EP Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg named a team that showed 10 changes from the side which lost to the Cell C Sharks last week, but he was “unavailable” to comment on the changes.
EP Kings players and the union’s management are again at loggerheads over apparent delays in player payments.
The cash-strapped union was unable to pay players for several months earlier in the season, but the issue was thought to be resolved last month when EP president Cheeky Watson announced that the players were compensated up until the end of July.
However, similar issues appear to have risen again with regards to August’s salaries, and according to CEO Charl Crous they are working at “resolving the matter”.
There is believed to be a threat of a player strike, although Crous said he received no communication in that regard.
EP Kings (13) 20 / 24 (7) Sharks (Final Score)
The Eastern Province Kings and Cell C Sharks did battle in the ABSA Currie Cup at
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Following their narrow 15 / 13 Currie Cup loss to the Steval Pumas in Port Elizabeth at the weekend, the EP Kings have a few more injury concerns.
Centre Tim Whitehead suffered concussion in the game against the Pumas and his availability for this weekend’s home game against the Sharks is in doubt.
He was cleared of symptoms, but will follow a gradual return to play protocol until Thursday. If he comes through that, then he will be cleared to face his former team.
Flyhalf George Whitehead picked up a knee injury and saw a specialist on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
Flank Jacques Engelbrecht has a left hip pointer injury and is likely to be sidelined for the next 2 weeks, while prop Basil Short has recovered from a foot injury, but a spider bite has kept him sidelined this week.
2 Of the tournament’s pace-setters are going head-to-head on Saturday. But it is no ordinary match. It is the BIG north-south derby – the Vodacom Blue Bulls hosting DHL Western Province in the feature match of the weekend, when they meet in Pretoria on Saturday.
They are 2 of only 3 remaining unbeaten sides.
However, before we get there we have 2 Friday games – which will feature 3 teams still seeking their 1st win.
The winless Eastern Province Kings host an ambitious Steval Pumas team in Port Elizabeth, while the central unions partners (and rivals) ORC Griquas and Toyota Free State Cheetahs will meet in Kimberley.
Griquas and Cheetahs are also both still winless.
The Cell C Sharks, fresh from their 1st win of the season, host the high-flying Xerox Golden Lions in Saturday’s early match before we get to the BIG derby at Loftus Versfeld.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls are currently sitting at Top of the standings – as a result of their greater points difference over their Gauteng neighbours, the Xerox Golden Lions – with both on a full-house 10 Log points.
DHL Western Province are 1 Log point further back (9) in 3rd place.
The Cell C Sharks (5 points), Steval Pumas (4), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (1), EP Kings (1) and ORC Griquas (1) trail behind the pace-setters.
We look at all the Round 3 matches!
Luke Watson and Stefan Willemse have been withdrawn from the line-up due to leg injuries, for Friday night’s clash against the Steval Pumas at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Unfortunately the pair have not responded to treatment as quickly as the team management had hoped. They have been replaced so as to not risk losing them for the remainder of the Currie Cup campaign.
Cameron Lindsay replaces Stefan Willemse on the bench, while Thembelani Bholi has been moved to the starting line-up in place of Luke Watson, with Paul Schoeman taking his place on the bench.
Steven Sykes will captain the team.
Loose forward Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht has returned to the starting line-up for the Eastern Province Kings’ clash against the Steval Pumas on Friday.
Engelbrecht, who made a name for himself in the Southern Kings’ 2013 Super Rugby season with hard hits and bulldozing runs, replaces flank Stefan Willemse on the side of the scrum.
The 30-year-old has been a welcome return to the EP side (on loan) after he departed for the Bulls at the end of 2013.
Willemse has been included on the bench, but Janse van Rensburg said the flank had a slight niggle, which they believe will clear up for Friday’s game.
As the Kings franchise looks forward to a significant period in its history, EP Rugby chief executive Charl Crous has announced a 3-year clothing sponsorship deal with BLK South Africa, beginning in 2016.
The sponsorship will coincide with the Southern Kings’ return to Super Rugby in 2016 and both parties are excited about the journey which lies ahead for rugby in the Eastern Cape region.
Eastern Province Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg has kept the changes to a minimum as his team prepare for their second Currie Cup game against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The EP Kings went down 51 / 14 to the Lions in Port Elizabeth on Saturday but Janse van Rensburg said on Tuesday he did not think it would be appropriate to make wholesale changes at this stage.
The only change in the team sees Siyanda Grey, who was on the bench last week, replacing Sylvian Mahuza. Janse van Rensburg has also included prop Lizo Gqoboka on the bench in going for a five-two split.
The EP Kings have suffered 2 new injuries after their hapless display against the Xerox Golden Lions in their Currie Cup opener on the weekend.
A burst of 4 converted tries in the 1st 16 minutes of the match set the Lions up for a decisive 51 / 14 win over the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the opening weekend of the tournament.
2 Of the Kings’ cavalry have come away with fresh injuries after the defeat, the team doctor confirmed on Tuesday.
Prop Lizo Gqoboka has a pectoral muscle strain and his time on the sideline is still to be confirmed, while flank Paul Schoeman is setback with a knee injury which is under investigation this week.
The Eastern Province Kings’ stuttering build-up to the Currie Cup season had another wobble on Tuesday.
Despite the players’ outstanding salaries having been paid last week, prop Nicolaas ‘Maks’ van Dyk has abruptly ended his short stint in Port Elizabeth and headed back to Bloemfontein.
In a statement on Tuesday Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson confirmed the union and Van Dyk have mutually agreed to part ways.
The front row forward has decided to rejoin the Cheetahs ahead of the Currie Cup season.
The player’s departure comes just days before the Kings host the Golden Lions, 1 of the pre-tournament favourites, in the opening Round of the Currie Cup competition in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
EP Kings rugby players have received their overdue salary payments.
The cash-strapped union was unable to pay its players in recent months, but according to reports, players were finally compensated.
EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson said his players had been paid up to date and were also compensated for any inconveniences.
Watson would not elaborate further but it is thought that the payment includes the double pay packet promised because of the delays in securing a new sponsor.
There is however still no news on the Kings’ new lucrative sponsorship, believed to be in the region of R 200 Million.
DHL Western Province edged the EP Kings 21 / 18 in their friendly clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night.
In an exciting finish, the Kings, who trailed 14 / 13 at halftime, stormed on to the attack in the closing minutes but the WP defence held firm for the victory as the sides completed their match preparations for the Currie Cup starting on 8 August.
After a try by WP centre and captain Juan de Jongh gave the visitors a 21 / 13 lead in the 55th minute, the Kings gave themselves a chance at victory when left wing Luther Obi shot through a gap to narrow the margin to 3 points with 6 minutes remaining.
In the 1st half the Kings took a 7 / 0 lead after a try by prop Maks van Dyk, converted by fullback Scott van Breda, who also added 2 penalties.
WP hit back with tries by wings Kobus van Wyk and Seabelo Senatla, both converted by flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis.
The Eastern Province Kings have made a late change to their side that will host DHL Western Province at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (kick-off at 19:00 SA Time).
The union confirmed on Thursday that 31-year-old Schalk Ferreira will start in place of loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka, who has picked up a knee injury.
Basil Short will take Ferreira’s place on the bench.
Western Province have named a strong side for the pre-Currie Cup friendly that will see the Springbok duo of Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh operate in midfield.
The EP Kings have expressed their disappointment after former coach Carlos Spencer voiced his dissatisfaction at unpaid wages.
Spencer earlier this week parted ways with the Kings and – through his attorney David Jones – the former All Black has attributed his departure from the Kings to their continued troubles in meeting wage obligations.
The Kings on Thursday insisted that Spencer and his lawyers’ claims were “simply not true”.
“The initial problems we had with Carlos’ salary was due to his insistence of having his funds paid into an offshore account,” EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, said via a media statement.
Watson said this resulted in delays that arose out of the administrative compliance and paperwork issues.
Lock Steven Sykes will captain the EP Kings when they wind up their match preparations for next month’s Currie Cup campaign with a friendly against Western Province at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
In a bid to give all his players some exposure in their build-up to the Currie Cup, Kings coach Brent Janse van Rensburg has predictably introduced a theme of rotation after their friendly against the Blue Bulls last weekend.
There is a new front row in Lizo Gqoboka, Martin Ferreira and Maks van Dyk, while Paul Schoeman will start on the side of the scrum following an injury to Thembelani Bohli last week.
At scrumhalf, Enrico Acker, who scored the only try against the Blue Bulls last weekend, will get his first chance to start for the Kings, while centres Marlou van Niekerk and JP du Plessis have an opportunity to prove themselves in midfield.
In the other change to the backline, Sylvian Mahuza returns from injury and will start on the wing, with Siviwe ‘Shakes’ Soyizwapi dropping to the bench.
Could Auckland rugby icon Carlos Spencer be on the verge of making a dramatic return to the Blues as a skills coach under Tana Umaga?
It might seem a longshot but the door could be open according to Blues boss Michael Redman.
Spencer, among the most gifted footballers in New Zealand rugby history, wants to return to New Zealand from South Africa having quit Super Rugby’s Kings franchise which he says owes him substantial wages.
Redman told the Herald the Blues will decide within days whether to appoint a new skills coach, or make the job contestable. If it is the latter, Spencer – who approached the franchise this year – would “absolutely be an option and we would hope and expect he would apply.”
The 39-year-old Spencer is on the lookout for a new job after parting ways with South Africa’s Eastern Province Kings, the apparently financially troubled franchise which returns to the expanded Super Rugby competition next season.
His shock departure from the Kings, revealed yesterday, has cast a further spotlight on issues facing the expanded Super Rugby competition.
The Eastern Province Kings and New Zealand born coach, Carlos Spencer, have ended their association with immediate effect.
Spencer, who earned 35 caps for the All Blacks from 1995 to 2004, finished his playing career with the Lions in 2011 and then coached at the Lions and the Sharks, before linking up with the EP Kings in December 2013. He was appointed as the attack and specialist skills coach, and then took charge of the provincial team on their return to the Currie Cup Premier Division in 2014.
In 2015 he resumed his duties as the attack and specialist skills coach following the appointment of Brent Janse van Rensburg as the EP Kings head coach.
EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson paid tribute to Spencer for his contribution to the provincial team during his time with the union.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls defeated the EP Kings 33 / 10 in their friendly rugby match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
After an early penalty by EP Kings fullback Scott van Breda, the Blue Bulls took the lead when No 8 Arno Botha barged over near the posts.
The visitors then struck twice in the final 4 minutes of the 1st half with tries by wing Travis Ismaiel and flyhalf Tian Schoeman, both converted by Schoeman, to lead 21 / 3 at halftime.
After the break, the Bulls scored further tries by centre Dries Swanepoel and flanker Roelof Smit from a lineout maul before EP crossed in the 69th minute when scrumhalf Enrico Acker scored their only try of the match.
Former SARU chief executive Edward Griffiths is being lined up as the new supremo at the Southern Kings as they prepare for their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.
Kings president, Cheeky Watson, confirmed that the union had discussions with Griffiths who earlier this year left his post as chief executive at Saracens after 7 years in charge.
“We have had discussions with Griffiths, but I cannot say more than that,” Watson said.
The Southern Kings continued their recruitment drive ahead of their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.
Veteran prop Schalk Ferreira, who played Super Rugby for the Kings in 2013, is the latest recruit for the Port Elizabeth-based franchise.
He will be returning to PE on a 2-year contract and will join them ahead of the Eastern Province Kings’ Currie Cup campaign that gets underway in August.
The 31-year-old Ferreira – who also played for the DHL Stormers before moving to PE – has been playing for Toulouse in France since 2013.
The have recently also confirmed the signing of centre JP du Plessis and prop Basil Short.
This also follows the announcement of a loan agreement with the Blue Bulls for the services of Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht to join the squad for the Currie Cup season, as well as the signing until 2016 of young prop Nicolaas van Dyk.
Du Plessis and Short are already taking part in a training.
Loose forward Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht says signing with the Bulls was the biggest mistake of his rugby career.
The 30-year-old was a star for the Kings when they played Super Rugby in 2013 before joining the Bulls later that year.
His career nosedived in Pretoria though, where a lack of game time left him frustrated.
Engelbrecht mainly played Vodacom Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls this year and has been loaned to the EP Kings for this year’s Currie Cup.
Engelbrecht’s contract with the Bulls only expires next year, but he is hoping to impress for the Kings in the Currie Cup in order for them to try sign him for next year’s Super Rugby competition.
The Eastern Province Kings on Wednesday announced the termination of the contract of flyhalf Tony Jantjies with immediate effect.
In making the announcement on Wednesday, EP Kings chief executive officer Charl Crous said Jantjies’ contract had been terminated due to a breach of team protocol.
The 23-year-old Jantjies joined the EP Kings this year after representing the Blue Bulls from 2012 to 2014.
Former Steval Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse, 1 of the country’s most undervalued coaches, is rumoured to have thrown his name into the hat for vacant coaching positions at the Cell C Sharks, Vodacom Bulls and Southern Kings.
4 Of South Africa’s franchises will be looking to fill their vacant head coach positions before the start of the revamped and extended Super Rugby tournament in 2016.
Stonehouse took up a coaching job with Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus earlier this year after he declined 2 previous offers from abroad with the hope of landing a job with a South African franchise.
The Bulls head coach position opened up over the weekend when Frans Ludeke resigned after 8 years in charge of South Africa’s most successful Super Rugby franchise.