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The Isuzu Southern Kings are in their final preparations for the first tour of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season.

Following three opening matches at home at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the team will now travel to Italy, Scotland and Wales over the next three weeks where they will take on Benetton (Stadio Manigo, October 26), Glasgow Warriors (Scotstoun Stadium, November 1) and Ospreys (Liberty Stadium, November 9).

A 26-man playing squad will travel early next week for Treviso, Italy. The team will then be joined by scrumhalf, Stefan Ungerer, on the second leg of the tour in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Isuzu Southern Kings’ 27-man touring squad is:

Alandre van Rooyen, Alulutho Tshakweni, Aston Fortuin, Bobby de Wee, Elrigh Louw, Jacques du Toit, JC Astle, Jerry Sexton, Juan Schoeman, Lusanda Badiyana, Pieter Scholtz, Rossouw de Klerk, Ruaan Lerm, Thembelani Bholi, Tienie Burger.

Christopher Hollis, Demetri Catrakilis, Erich Cronje, Gavin Mills, Josh Allderman, Josiah Twum-Boafo, JT Jackson, Masixole Banda, Sibusiso Sithole, Siya Masuku, Stefan Ungerer, Tertius Kruger.

October 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


The Isuzu Southern Kings are pleased to announce Swys de Bruin has joined the team as a coaching consultant.

De Bruin is a widely sought-after rugby brain and comes with a wealth of coaching experience having recently been the attack coach of the Springboks team as well as Head Coach of the Lions from 2017 until earlier this year. He has also previously coached the Sharks, Griquas and South Africa Under-21.

The 59-year-old officially started in his new role on Friday, October 18, ahead of the Isuzu Southern Kings’ tour to Europe. He will be working closely with the coaching team of Robbi Kempson, Vuyo Zangqa and Braam van Straaten.

“We are excited to have Swys de Bruin joining the Isuzu Southern Kings as a coaching consultant,” Isuzu Southern Kings Chairman, Loyiso Dotwana, confirmed.

“Swys is one of the most respected and sought-after coaches in South Africa. His vast knowledge of the game and international experience will be of great value to our team.

“We are also confident that his input and contribution will be beneficial to our coaching team and the playing personnel. Swys’ philosophy is known to be that of producing attractive rugby which is in line with what we are set on achieving at the Isuzu Southern Kings.”

October 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


The Isuzu Southern Kings launched the official playing jersey for the Guinness PRO14 2019/20 season on Friday.

With a dawn of a new era at the Eastern Cape-based franchise which is now under new management, new coaching staff and with a majority new playing squad, it was only inevitable that the side also go into the new season in new playing kit.

The Isuzu Southern Kings continue to form a good relationship from the 2018/19 Guinness PRO14 season with kit suppliers, TK Sports South Africa, who designed and manufactured the new strip.

“We are at a very exciting juncture as the Isuzu Southern Kings as we look to begin the new season that coincides with a new dawn for the franchise,” said Isuzu Southern Kings Chief Operations Officer, Leigh Heard.

“We are proud to have a quality kit supplier such as TK Sports South Africa continuing this relationship with the Isuzu Southern Kings. The two brands have similar ambitions of being leaders in their respective fields globally, and have set high standards for producing quality that can compete with the best globally.

“We are indeed proud of our new strip, and cannot wait to see our boys running onto the field wearing it. We are confident that the rugby-supporting public will be blown away by our new kit and we will see many of them donning the Isuzu Southern Kings colours on the stands as they support their team this coming season.”

The Isuzu Southern Kings home kit

The home strip has retained the dominant three colours that are synonymous with the Isuzu Southern Kings – the traditional red, black and gold.

The Isuzu Southern Kings alternative strip

There are no grey areas at the Isuzu Southern Kings, and as such, for the alternative strip we have gone for a predominantly black and white colours.

The design

The Isuzu Southern Kings represents the Xhosa-dominant Eastern Cape province, and to pay homage to four Xhosa kingdoms with four spears that are placed on the shoulders – indicative of the fact that the team carries the hopes of the entire province on their shoulders.

Four Nguni cattle horns sit proudly on the front of the jersey, representing the heritage and culture of the Eastern Cape province.

Inter-joined molecular designs add attractive patterns to the strip. These represent the general people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa, who stand side by side, united in their support of the much-loved game of rugby.

“The technicality of the fabric ensures when the body heats up, the fabric starts taking shape around the player,” TK Sports SA Managing Director, Rassie Pieterse, explained.

“This gives ultimate comfort and breathability to the player to perform at their max. The durability versus the lightness is the key to the new TK jersey.”

September 20, 2019 in Uncategorized


A year ago Lusanda Badiyana was on a rugby sabbatical – enjoying the picturesque landscapes of Vietnam, feasting on the famous dish Pho, and teaching Maths and Science in the Southeast Asian country.

Now he is on the verge of making a welcome return in the colours of the Isuzu Southern Kings when the side kicks off their Guinness PRO14 2019/20 season.

Before taking the sabbatical and spending eight months as a teacher, Badiyana was part of the Isuzu Southern Kings team and featured in four Guinness PRO14 matches in the side’s debut season in the 2017/18 season.

““I’m very grateful to be part of the Isuzu Southern Kings again, and also grateful to be playing in the Guinness PRO14. For myself and my career, this is a massive step in the right direction,” Badiyana said.

“The Guinness PRO14 championship is a quality competition with top-class international players, and I am looking forward to adding to the four matches that gave me a taste of the competition in my first stint.”

His return to the Isuzu Southern Kings and the Guinness PRO14 is something the 23-year-old loose-forward has not only bolstered the loose-forward arsenal, but his leadership has already proven invaluable in the squad. He captained the team in one of their two pre-season matches against Namibia earlier in September.

Leadership is something that seems to come naturally to Badiyana.

In 2014 he was head boy of Cambridge High School in East London and also captained the school’s First XV side.

His influence in a team environment goes as far back as 2015 where he was an influential member of the Eastern Province team that won the Under-19 Currie Cup.

Badiyana will be hoping that his winning mentality, work ethic and leadership influence will rub off on the relatively youthful Isuzu Southern Kings side that will represent the Eastern Cape this season.

“We are very excited about the season that is coming up. We have close to 70% new players in the squad, so it is very exciting times and the general feeling in the camp is that of excitement,” he said.

“We have new coaches who have come in with new ideas, so it is a fresh start for everyone.

“It’s really exciting having a fairly young squad with players who bring a lot of energy and fresh ideas. This has been a positive for the team, and a big learning curve for the young players who have joined the team.”

Whether Badiyana will be in the team that will take on Cardiff Blues in the opening match of the season at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, September 28, or he gets to don the Isuzu Southern Kings jersey a little later, he is eager to get back on the Guinness PRO14 field.

One thing’s for sure, his time in Vietnam during his sabbatical has certainly reignited his passion for the game and desire to get the Isuzu Southern Kings on a winning track.

September 19, 2019 in Uncategorized


The Isuzu Southern Kings have agreed on a memorandum of understanding with French club, Toulon, in a move that will see a close working relationship between the two sides.

Isuzu Southern Kings’ Deputy Chairman, Rory Stear, and Chief Operations Officer, Charl Crous, travelled to France this week where they met Toulon President, Mourad Boudjellal, to conclude an agreement which will see an immediate close working relationship between the South African franchise and French club.

The ground-breaking partnership with a globally iconic club that has been crowned European champions no less than three times, further illustrates the ambitious intent of the Isuzu Southern Kings’ new owners, the GRC, to turn the Port Elizabeth-based franchise into a force to be reckoned with globally.

Part of the memorandum of understanding between the two teams includes:

  • Sharing of resources between the two sides,
  • An exchange programme between the coaching staff of both teams,
  • The sharing of player resources,
  • Commercial opportunities,
  • Youth development through both teams’ rugby academies, and
  • Fixtures between the two sides.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the Isuzu Southern Kings to twin with a renowned club such as Toulon – an iconic club in the world,” Isuzu Southern Kings Deputy Chairman, Rory Stear, said.

“Toulon is a club that has had a good South African link with great Springboks like Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Juandre Kruger, Jacques Potgieter and Marcel van der Merwe playing for them. While other world greats like Johnny Wilkinson and currently Julian Sevea playing for them.

“This is an exciting partnership that will see us ensure that we are on track with our determination to make the Isuzu Southern Kings a world force, just like Toulon.

“We are excited and looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Toulon.”

April 5, 2019 in Uncategorized


The Isuzu Southern Kings have announced a 25-man that will travel to Belfast to take on Ulster in a Guinness PRO14 Round 18 clash on Saturday, March 23.

The team leaves for Ireland from Port Elizabeth on Wednesday evening, which will be the side’s final trip overseas for the 2018/19 Guinness PRO14 season.

After a two-week break since their last match – a close 19-26 defeat to Cardiff Blues in Wales earlier this month – the side will be eager to get back to action and will look to earn their first overseas win of the season.

“We have opted for consistency with the aim of building momentum from what was a close match against Cardiff Blues two weeks ago, Isuzu Southern Kings Head Coach, Deon Davids, said ahead of the side’s departure from Port Elizabeth.

“A guy like CJ Velleman, who missed out on the last tour because of a suspension, could have easily come back into the side, but we have somebody like Henry “Bakkies” Brown who performed very well for us on tour, and so did Stephan de Wit, but we could only pick one of them. Bakkies did well for us, and for consistency’s sake, it was the obvious decision to make to include him in the squad.”

Experienced scrumhalf, Sarel Pretorius, was omitted from the touring squad after he sustained a knee injury at training last Friday. The 34-year-old Pretorius will be undergoing scans this week to determine the extent of his injury. His place in the touring group has been taken by Ruan van Rensburg.

In a pre-planned rotational change, centre Berton Klaasen will get some rest this week as Harlon Klaasen travels with the team to Belfast as he joins Meli Rokoua and Tertius Kruger as the traveling midfielders.

The Isuzu Southern Kings are expecting a thrilling encounter with one of the top Irish sides in Guinness PRO14 Rugby. The northern Irish side has managed to win 10 of their 17 matches so far this season, with only five defeats.

“Our focus now is on the remaining four matches, especially the next match against Ulster,” Davids said.

“We are working hard to ensure that we continue to improve and that we get some positive results.”

The Isuzu Southern Kings touring group for the match against Ulster is:


Alulutho Tshakweni, Schalk Ferreira, De-Jay Terblanche, Lupumlo Mguca, Pieter Scholtz; Michael Willemse, Alandre van Rooyen; JC Astle (c), Andries van Schalkwyk, Stephan Greeff; Henry Brown, Martinus Burger, Andisa Ntsila, Ruaan Lerm.


Stefan Ungerer, Ruan van Rensburg, Rudi van Rooyen; Bader Pretorius, Masixole Banda; Tertius Kruger, Meli Rokoua, Harlon Klaasen; Yaw Penxe, Bjorn Basson; Ulrich Beyers.

March 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

New appointment announced to strengthen the Isuzu Southern Kings.

Speaking at a briefing which was held with key stakeholders today, Loyiso Dotwana, the Chairman of the Isuzu Southern Kings Board, announced some key changes which are geared at laying the foundation to establish a professional, world class rugby team in the Eastern Cape.

Charl Crous, current COO of the franchise, has accepted a position as Head of Operations for PRO14 rugby, based in Dublin, effective from June 2019.  Dotwana said that he viewed this appointment as a positive development for the franchise given the in-depth knowledge Crous has of the franchise’s operations.

“The new Isuzu Southern Kings Board met for the first time today and I am pleased to advise that approval has been granted to commence a search for a new CEO,” emphasised Dotwana. “We will we go through a thorough process to review all potential candidates, thus ensuring that we make the right appointment for the long-term”.

“In the meantime, as an interim measure, Rory Stear, Vice-Chairman of the Board, and I will get involved in some of the day to day operations of the franchise, thus providing the focus which we need to implement the required changes. Ultimately we want to make this an environment which will attract the best CEOs.”

Former Springbok prop and respected coach Robbi Kempson has been appointed as  High Performance Director for the Isuzu Southern Kings.  This is a new role for the franchise and his primary responsibilities will include the recruitment of quality playing personnel, overseeing the coaching structures and establishing a High Performance  Rugby Academy.

“Robbi Kempson is a widely respected professional in rugby circles and is known for his extensive knowledge of the game, having played rugby at the highest level and for his immense role in the nurturing of young talent from this province,” said Dotwana. “It was therefore a natural decision to appoint one of the sons the Eastern Cape province into this important role,”

Dotwana said that one of the key objectives of the franchise was to improve on-field results from the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season. “While the Isuzu Southern Kings have shown a gradual improvement in the current season versus the inaugural 2017/18 season, we want to ensure that we win at least half of the fixtures from the next season.

“We expect next season to be very different. Just like in business, we are also ambitious with the results that we expect on the field. The ground work to ensure that we achieve our targets is already underway for the season,” he emphasised. “We will be doing everything possible to source the best possible talent to strengthen the core base of the team.  This will be balanced up with high potential local talent players within the current team and also other emerging players.”

Deon Davids remains on as Head Coach with his contract set to run until May 2020.

Dotwana said that it is important that the Eastern Cape gets a team which it can rally behind. “There is no other province which has the vast number of rugby playing schools that we have to source talent from.  Too often our talent leaves for other parts of the country and globe.  We want to change that by making the Isuzu Southern Kings a team that rugby players aspire to be a part of.”

March 15, 2019 in Uncategorized
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New journey begins for the Isuzu Southern Kings

Today the new owners of the Isuzu Southern Kings, The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC) marked the start of their new journey by announcing their strategy going forward.

Speaking at a stakeholder conference the new Chairman of the Isuzu Southern Kings, Loyiso Dotwana, said that the franchise, which is the first black owned one in the country, would be run along key business principles.

“Our business model will enable the pooling of resources and talents to operate a smaller but professional high performance team,” said Dotwana. “Ultimately our organisation will reflect what South African businesses can become and should be.”

GRC recently purchased a majority  74% shareholding in the franchise from the South African Rugby Union (SARU).  This in turn enabled SARU to pass on a 26% shareholding to the Eastern Province  Rugby Union. “This gives them an equity position within a professional rugby team and also the opportunity to participate in our community programmes which will be targeted at developing rugby at a grass roots level, recognising that the Eastern Cape is the home of black rugby in South Africa,” emphasised Dotwana.

Another key milestone for the franchise was the announcement of a couple of months ago which ensures that the franchise has a multiple year title sponsor in place  – locally based, Isuzu Motors South Africa.  “We want this to serve as the catalyst for other Eastern Cape businesses to support the franchise,” he said.

The franchise is now in a position it has never been in before – guaranteed inclusion in a premier international rugby competition – The Guinness Pro14. The Isuzu Southern Kings, together with the Cheetahs, are the only two South African franchises and Southern Hemisphere representatives, who compete in this internationally acclaimed competition. “We are playing against the best professional clubs in the world and need to significantly up our game to ensure that we are formidable competitors.  This is all about playing quality rugby!,” said Dotwana.

The franchise, in conjunction with other partners will also be establishing a Rugby Academy by year-end.  This will geared at developing and retaining the best talent so that a strong future base can be built for rugby in the Eastern Cape. 

Dotwana also announced the composition of the Isuzu Southern King’s new Board:

  • Loyiso Dotwana (GRC) – Chairman
  • Rory Stear (GRC) – Deputy Chairman
  • Kenny Govender (GRC)
  • Gary Markson (GRC)
  • Bantwini Matika (EP Rugby Union)
  • Shaheed Patel (EP Rugby Union)
  • Michael Sacke (Isuzu Motors South Africa) – Independent Director
  • Gugu Nxiweni (Improvate Group) – Independent Director
  • Andre Rademan (EP Rugby Union)- Standing invitation to attend meetings

“We have appointed a well qualified Board and will also encourage agility and quick decision making. Three key Board Committees have been established to focus on rugby strategy, revenue generation and ensuring good governance.”

“We know where we are going and we have set ambitious goals which we are determined to achieve, most importantly the establishment of a professional, world class rugby team, right here in the Eastern Cape,” concluded Dotwana.

March 15, 2019 in Uncategorized
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Eastern Cape consortium acquires ownership of Isuzu Southern Kings

A consortium of Eastern Cape business people has acquired a controlling interest in the Isuzu Southern Kings rugby franchise, SA Rugby was delighted to confirm on Friday.

SA Rugby sold a 74 percent shareholding in SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the Isuzu Southern Kings’ holding company, to a company called The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC). The Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) has acquired the balance of 26 percent of the shares.

The deal was recently completed following the conclusion of agreement on the commercial terms.

SA Rugby had taken control of the Isuzu Southern Kings in November 2015 when the EPRU, to whom the operation of the franchise had been granted, ran into financial trouble.

“We are delighted to have concluded the sale,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

Loyiso Dotwana and Jurie Roux signing the deal

“The GRC are made up of committed local individuals who have the growth of rugby and the success of the Isuzu Southern Kings at heart. They are intimately involved in the commercial activities of the Eastern Cape and understand the potential of the region.

“This is a very significant and important development for the Isuzu Southern Kings. We look forward to GRC and the local community giving the Isuzu Southern Kings the ammunition to grow into the rugby force we know they can be.”

The owners of GRC are Eastern Cape businesspeople Loyiso Dotwana, Gary Markson, Rory Stear, Kenny Govender and Vuyo Zitumane.

Mr Dotwana, head of the consortium, said: “We have followed a rigorous process to take control of the franchise but we have been single minded throughout: that bringing ownership of the Isuzu Southern Kings into local hands will be good for the team and good for the region.

“We are rugby people who understand the Eastern Cape, the passion of the people for rugby and just how much a successful Isuzu Southern Kings team would mean to this region. We are focused and determined to deliver that success.”

Mr Andre Rademan, President of the EPRU, said that the fact that the EPRU was a shareholder would ensure continuity for rugby in the region.

“It is essential that the continuum between school, club, provincial and franchise rugby remains open and this new arrangement assures that,” he said.

“It has been a challenging three years for the rugby in the Eastern Cape but the establishment of a new EPRU board and now the local acquisition of the Isuzu Southern Kings franchise means that we can look to the future with real excitement and anticipation.”

March 8, 2019 in Uncategorized
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Exciting Isuzu Southern Kings flyhalf, Bader Pretorius, will get his first starting berth when the side takes on Munster Rugby in a Guinness PRO14 Round 15 match at the Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday. The 21-year-old Pretorius made his debut for the Isuzu Southern Kings from the bench in the team’s 25-21 victory over Edinburgh Rugby last month, and will this week play in his third match in the Isuzu Southern Kings strip after also being a substitute a fortnight ago against Toyota Cheetahs. The experienced Berton Klaasen will be on Pretorius’ outside, as the centre returns to the starting XV to pair up with Fijian Meli Rokoua in the midfield.In the forwards pack, loose-forward Stephan de Wit also makes a return to the starting XV in the place of the suspended CJ Velleman at openside flanker. The rest of the starting XV remains the same as the side that faced the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in the narrow 36-40 defeat.Following a day’s travel from Port Elizabeth to Cork earlier in the week ahead of Friday night encounter, the Isuzu Southern Kings have adjusted well to conditions since arriving in Ireland on Tuesday.“It was a long travel – about 26 hours of travelling – but it was good,” Captain, JC Astle, said on Thursday. “We managed to get a lot of training done last week, and on Monday before we left Port Elizabeth where we focused on the things we want to do against Munster.“We had rain in PE on Monday which prepared us for the conditions in Ireland. We are experiencing some cold weather in Ireland, between 2 and 10-degrees. We have had no rain so far, but underfoot it is quite wet, but we are adjusting to get the feel of what it will be like on Friday night.”The side is expecting a tough encounter against a strong Munster side that leads Conference A at the moment. A win for the South African side will boost their confidence for the remainder of the three-week tour which includes matches against defending champs, Leinster, and Welsh side, Cardiff Blues.“Munster is a very clinical side and are on top of Conference A, so we are expecting a hard match with clinical, good players who know how to do their job,” added Astle.“The aim of the tour, after we have had a few good games in the past few weeks, is to improve on that. Getting a good start. It will be nice to go into the last two matches of the tour with heightened confidence and giving stern competition to some good teams.”The match between the Isuzu Southern Kings and Munster will kick-off at 21h35.The Isuzu Southern Kings team to face Munster is:
Shirt no.Player (surname then first name) 
15Banda Masixole
14Penxe Yaw
13Rokoua Meli
12Klaasen Berton
11Basson Bjorn
10Pretorius Bader
9Ungerer Stefan
1Ferreira Schalk
2Willemse Michael
3Terblanche De-Jay
4Van Schalkwyk Andries
5Astle John-Charles (C)
6De Wit Stephan
7Burger Martinus
8Lerm Ruaan
16Van Rooyen Alandre
17Tshakweni Alulutho
18Scholtz Pieter
19Greeff Stephan
20Ntsila Andisa
21Pretorius Sarel
22Kruger Tertius
23Beyers Ulrich

February 14, 2019 in Uncategorized