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.”