The two teams are mere weeks away from facing each other in promotion and relegation play-offs, but a rugby insider has claimed that a deal has already been struck between the two rivals.
According to the official, the teams would combine under a new name with their Super Rugby matches being played in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg next year.
It is also said the Kings would also be guaranteed a berth in the Currie Cup Premier Division if the merger took place.
But Watson rubbished the claims: “No ways. There have been no closed-door meetings between the Kings and the Lions. This is just like the rumour last year when it was suggested that the Kings had agreed to delay their Super Rugby entry until 2016 in exchange for R40m and Currie Cup Premier Division status.
“There is no truth to this story. I can state, with absolute certainty and without hesitation that I have not been involved in any discussions relating to the promotion relegation games with the Lions.”
There has also been speculation that the Kings could be re- branded and that there could be a massive change in playing and coaching staff in 2014 if the teams merged.
There are also claims that news of the merger would be delayed until after the play-offs because they would be big “money spinners” for the two teams, attracting capacity crowds in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
News of the “closed doors” meetings emerged on social media yesterday and Kings officials were quick to deny the speculation at a media conference to name their team to play the Stormers on Saturday.
One site tweeted: “So the Kings and Lions are having a few behind closed doors chats I hear. Do not expect that promotion-relegation game to be played.”
Another official confirmed that there had been meetings between the two franchises, but could not say for sure that the outcome was about merging.
A merger between the two teams would be a win-win situation for SA rugby as they would not want to lose the Kings, who are the best supported team in South Africa.
In their opening seven home matches, the Kings have attracted a staggering 209166 fans, giving them an average attendance of 29881 and second place in the attendance standings behind the Reds of Australia.
The Lions were also quick to deny the reports and their president Kevin de Klerk was not available for comment.
SA Rugby spokesman Andy Colquhoun said he had heard nothing about a possible merger between the two teams.
After being written off as no-hopers at the start of the season, the Kings have won many friends with the courageous brand of rugby that has seen them become Super Rugby’s most successful team on debut.
Watson said SA Rugby had confirmed that the Southern Kings will be playing the first Super Rugby promotion relegation game on July 26 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“The ABSA Currie Cup First Division game against Boland has been moved to an earlier time slot of 16:45, and the promotion relegation game is scheduled to kick off at 19:10, with both games being televised,” he said.