It seems as if things are finally moving in the right direction at the Southern Kings.
After years of maladministration and neglect, the Eastern Cape outfit recently acquired new local ownership of the PRO14 franchise, which meant that the organisation was truly back in the hands of their own leaders instead of SA Rugby.
And on Thursday, the Kings announced that they had concluded a deal with French giants Toulon that hold a number of benefits for both parties.
Kings deputy chairman Rory Stear and chief operations officer Charl Crous met with Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal to sign a memorandum of understanding.
Apart from playing matches against each other in future, the Kings said in a statement that there will be a “sharing of resources between the two sides, an exchange programme between the coaching staff of both teams, the sharing of player resources, commercial opportunities and youth development through both teams’ rugby academies”.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the Southern Kings to twin with a renowned club such as Toulon – an iconic club in the world,” Kings deputy chairman Stear said.
“Toulon is a club that has had a good South African link with great Springboks like Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Juandre Kruger, Jacques Potgieter and Marcel van der Merwe playing for them, while other world greats like Johnny Wilkinson and currently Julian Sevea playing for them.
“This is an exciting partnership that will see us ensure that we are on track with our determination to make the Southern Kings a world force, just like Toulon.”
🔴 PARTNERSHIP ⚫️— Isuzu Southern Kings (@SouthernKingsSA) April 4, 2019
The Isuzu Southern Kings and French club, Toulon, have entered exclusive negotiations for a partnership between the two sides.
More details on the groundbreaking relationship to follow tomorrow. @RCTofficiel #WithYouForTheLongRun pic.twitter.com/wUyXinSBq6
The Kings will hope that the partnership will yield better PRO14 results in future, as they won just two out of 18 matches in Conference B this season.
Their next encounter is against the Dragons in Port Elizabeth on Sunday (3pm kickoff).@ashfakmohamed