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.