With less than two months to go before the begin a new Pro14 campaign, the Southern Kings’ preparation has been thrown into disarray.
The Port Elizabeth-based franchise’s management on Friday announced that it was abandoning its selection process for a new head coach, predominantly because of the drama surrounding Peter de Villiers.
The former Springbok coach had been one of three shortlisted candidates for the position, before a report last weekend alleged that De Villiers was out of the running because he didn’t possess a Level Three coaching qualification.
De Villiers rebuked those claims with photographic evidence of all his certificates.
The Kings then said that only one of the three candidates had the mandatory qualification, yet shortly afterwards also stated that De Villiers was very much still in the running.
But the confusion has taken its toll.
“The events of the past few days have convinced the Greatest Rugby Company (GRC), the majority shareholder in the Southern Kings, to accept the initial recommendation of the interviewing panel to abort the process of selecting a new head coach,” the franchise said in a statement.
“The panel reported that they felt the process was undermined around the confusion of the World Rugby Level 3 certification. In addition, the persistent media leaks have further undermined the integrity of the process.”
As a result, director of rugby, Robbi Kempson, will now be tasked with coaching the team on an interim basis.
Ominously, there’s no indication of when the Kings will restart the process.
“The GRC wishes to thank the candidates who showed interest in the position as well as the interviewing panel for their commitment and diligence,” the franchise added.