Let’s forget for just a second about how the Kings, under the directions of chaps like Cheeky Watson, Mark Keohane and their cronies managed to wriggle their way into the Super Rugby at great loss to the Lions Rugby Franchise.
Let;s forget for a second about the conspiracy theories and real reasons behind the drive by these chaps to get the Port Elizabeth Stadium into the Super Rugby fold.
Let’s forget for a second that the Kings abused the system and portrayed themselves as an entity with a noble cause to promote Transformation,while they have done nothing to justify those claims, in fact, they have proven the opposite by allowing more “foreign” players in their squad than allowed, and that is not counting those from African countries who got place in the side ahead of other, more deserving South African, black citizens in that very Union.
Let’s forget Luke Watson’s comments about Dutchman and the Springbok jersey making him nauseous….
The Kings are here to stay.
Sorry to the Lions, but it seems it will take a very long time for them to return to Super Rugby. Left to play in sub standard, make shift competitions, and with their players on loan to other unions doing nothing to make one dismiss the “group think” theory that seemingly plagued the Lions for all these years, there just doesn’t seem any way that the Lions will beat the Kings, or for that matter, possibly even the Stormers, when it comes to the relegation/promotion match at the end of the season.
The Stormers, I say? Yes. The Stormers who have done nothing but beat the top 2 sides in this year’s tournament, the Brumbies and Chiefs, but lost against the Cheetahs, Sharks, Bulls and Crusaders. It seems it is going to be one of “those” seasons again for the Stormers, like dropping to 9th place in 2005 when they were semi finalists in 2004 and perhaps the lack of pulling through a championship whilst finishing in the top 2 in the last 3 years on the log, is making this team “not believe”. I still say though, given the way Catrakilis pulled the WP through the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup wins, it was criminal to allow him to leave for the Kings.
Which brings me to the Kings. I have been myself extremely critical and pessimistic about their chances in this competition. I have to eat humble pie though, as not once have they shown to be that team so many people, including myself, thought and predicted they would be. With each and every match they have done better than expected. They beat the Force, who went on and gave the Bulls a very tough time. They gave the Sharks a scare, they did not get trampled at all by the Crusaders, and they held the Brumbies to a draw. The Kings, touted as nothing more than a band of mercenaries with their patched up squad, is growing in confidence with every performance, and I will not be surprised if they give on or two of the South African teams an upset. They may very well beat the Rebels this weekend, which is not out of the question at all, which would put them one point behind the Stormers who is expected to lose against the Sharks this weekend. Can the Kings beat the Stormers? Anything is possible on any given day.
The question is though, can the Lions beat any of the current South African Super Rugby Franchises? I don’t think so. By now, if anyone is not taking the Kings seriously anymore, they will be in for a surprise. The Kings have proven they belong here, they can be competitive. Do they deserve to be here? Well yes, if you forget about the way they got in, of course….
My picks for the weekend:
Brumbies; Chiefs; Blues; Kings; Crusaders; Sharks; Bulls (to stop Cheetahs new record of 5 wins in a row)
Don’t forget the MOB 2013 at Mbombela Stadium!