South Africa settles Super Rugby team row: Kings miss out
Southern Kings have accepted a $4.8 million offer from the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to delay their Super Rugby debut until 2016, according to newspaper reports.
SARU officials refused to comment on the reports amid a possible end to months of speculation as to which franchise would make way for the Port Elizabeth-based Kings.
Johannesburg-based Golden Lions were widely expected to lose out after finishing bottom of the South African conference this year behind Western Stormers, Northern Bulls, Coastal Sharks and Central Cheetahs.
SARU announced last January that Kings, who are based in the black rugby stronghold of the Eastern Cape and have long sought elevation to top-flight competitions, would play in Super Rugby next season.
But the union failed to persuade the competition organisers to increase the number of South African sides to six while the Kings, who play in the second tier of the domestic Currie Cup, named New Zealander Matt Sexton coach.
The reports said the Kings, who have battled to sign Super-standard players, would be promoted to the Currie Cup premier division next season irrespective of their final first division placing.
The Super Rugby contract runs until the end of the 2015 season and South African officials hope the southern hemisphere competition will then be expanded with Kings among the additional teams.© AFP 2013
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