South African rugby legend Kobus Wiese is supporting the inclusion of an Eastern Cape franchise in the Super 14 competition, but is wary of them becoming a “punching bag” for other teams.
“It would be very nice to have the Southern Kings in the tournament,” he said on Wednesday, ahead of next week’s much-anticipated visits to Despatch and Port Elizabeth. “But one must be realistic, not emotional, about this.”
Wiese and Oor die Kole co-presenter Toks van der Linde will be the guests of honour at spitbraais in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday (Despatch) and Wednesday (PE) and their visit is sure to spark more debate around the push for a local super rugby franchise, especially in the light of the poor run of form shown by the Lions and Cheetahs.
Wiese said the first question was where the franchise would find players to be competitive at that level. “There’s no point in just participating and becoming a punching bag. You must be competitive and contribute.”
Wiese said there was no shortage of talent in the region, but according to him the current infrastructure was pushing players to the larger franchises and unions.
“Most of the top players are already contracted to Super 14 unions. Where are they (the Southern Kings) going to get the funds to buy top local or international players?”
“You can’t build a great side overnight – it will take four or five seasons. Although I love the idea of another Super 14 side, one must think realistically about it.”
The outspoken player turned television presenter and public speaker said he and Van der Linde would be up to all their usual antics in the Bay.
“These events are always light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek. We offer a behind-the-scenes look at local rugby and dwell on stories not usually shared with the public.”
While much of the debate will be driven by them, Wiese said the real fun begins when they open up the floor. “With so many issues flying around at the moment, who knows what’s going to come up.”
With both the Stormers and Bulls staring down home semi-finals, Wiese believed that the 2010 Super 14 title was firmly within the grasp of a local team.
“I think Peter de Villiers must be smiling to have two sides in the running. I think if they can secure home semis, a South African side will definitely win.”
He would not be drawn into which side was more likely to come up trumps. “It’s like a flip of a coin – it all depends on what happens on the day.”
The public is invited to attend both events. Tickets, which cost R350, include a spitbraai and open bar.
For bookings, phone 041 373 0908 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens