Kings boss Cheeky Watson might have named five foreigners in their Super Rugby squad, but it was always going to be trimmed to meet SARU requirements.
And the media fell for the little PR stunt hook line and sinker …
“Kings head for stand-off with the South African Rugby Union over their foreign imports quota” shouted several outraged outlets …
But Watson waited for the storm to gather momentum, and then issued a quiet statement saying that the list of names unveiled on Tuesday is not the franchise’s final squad.
“The squad announced today is the wider squad that has been requested by SANZAR,” said Watson.
“This squad had to be submitted to SANZAR ahead of the official start of the season, in line with their tournament rules and regulations.
“This squad could be reduced further in due course.”
Much more interesting was how Director of Rugby Alan Solomons explained the axing of players like Ross Geldenhuys, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Wayne Stevens and Wesley Dunlop, and the calling up of former UCT and Tuks prop Grant Kemp.
“Ross has been struggling a little with his form and Grant has been called up in his place. Kemp has shown a lot of potential in what we have seen of him. There is something there and we feel he deserves the opportunity,” said Solomons.
“The feeling was that George [Whitehead] was slightly more versatile as he can play both wing and fullback. This versatility was a deciding factor and compliments the squad setup better,” said Solomons
Kings Super 15 squad:
Forwards: Schalk Ferreira, Jaco Engels, Hannes Franklin, Virgile Lacombe, Bandise Maku, Edgar Marutlulle, Kevin Buys, Grant Kemp, Steven Sykes, David Bullbring, Darron Nell, Rynier Bernardo, Daniel Adongo, Wimpie van der Walt, Mpho Mbiyozo, Tomas Leonardi, Cornell du Preez, Devin Oosthuizen, Luke Watson (captain), Jacques Engelbrecht.
Backs: Shaun Venter, Johan Herbst, Nicolas Vergallo, Demetri Catrakilis, George Whitehead, Andries Strauss, Hadleigh Parkes, Ronnie Cooke, Waylon Murray, Michael Killian, Sergeal Petersen, Marcello Sampson, Siyanda Grey, SP Marais, Elric van Vuuren.
CLICK HERE to see the team lineups for the Kings vs Griquas game