An exciting mix of up and coming young players who have come through the ranks of the Eastern Province Junior structures along with a core group of senior players have been selected to represent the Eastern Province Kings in 2014.
“I’m really positive in terms of the makeup of the squad. We have a good core group of senior players and a whole lot of aspirational young players who are looking to be successful,” said Head Coach, Matt Sexton.
“I think that if you have that mix, it’s a very potent mix for developing for the future,” he said.
Sexton said he felt that, should the December decision relating to the EP Kings promotion to the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division end with a favourable result, he was confident that the squad would be able to do well in the competition.
Sexton said that eleven players had joined the squad from the junior sides, which showed that the development structures that had been put in place were bearing fruit.
“The majority of the new faces that you will see in the squad, have transitioned in from the U21 and Academy, so that system is working very well. The philosophy that we’ve had around keeping them home and making sure that there is a legitimate pathway from our development structures into our main squad is alive and well,” he said.
“In terms of new players from outside the province, we haven’t really gone with trying to recruit players from far and wide, but we have had some needs, and two players from outside the province, Jaco Grobler and BG Uys, from the Leopards, have joined us,” he said.
Sexton said that while a number of players had returned to practice this week, after a three week break following the end of the 2013 Currie Cup season, a number of the younger players had been released to train at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, with the Madibas, in preparation for the Varsity Cup next year.
“A number of our younger players are in the NMMU squad, and we felt that this was a good platform for them to showcase their talents in a fantastic competition. We’re keeping tabs on them and we’re working very closely with NMMU to make sure that the players development needs are met there, and we have a very good relationship with them.
Sexton said there were players in the squad who may be released to play for other Super Rugby franchises during the 2014 season, but said they were not able to give an indication who those players would be.
DE SWARDT, Albé
DU PLESSIS, Charl
KERROD, Simon (NMMU)
VAN BREDA, Scott
VAN NIEKERK, Marlou
VAN ZYL, Kayle