FAR-REACHING decisions are expected to be made tomorrow when a meeting between rugby heads takes place in Port Elizabeth to discuss the future of the Southern Kings rugby franchise as they prepare for their Super Rugby debut next year.
EP rugby president Cheeky Watson will host the presidents of the Border and South Western Districts (SWD) unions.
It is expected that Watson will thrash out several important issues with his counterparts Buntu Ondala (Border) and Hennie Baartman (SWD) as they map out the Kings' Super Rugby future.
"The meeting is to discuss player recruitment and a variety of issues regarding the Southern Kings and the partnership of the three unions," EP rugby chief executive Anele Pamba said.
"This is an important meeting and we want to keep our partners fully abreast of all the latest developments. I expect that later in the week some important announcements regarding the Southern Kings will be made. One of the issues up for discussion is player recruitment."
Though Pamba would not divulge the agenda for the meeting, it is virtually certain that Border and South Western Districts will be keen for some Super Rugby matches to be staged in their regions next year. It has already been mooted that a Super Rugby match should be played in Mthatha next year to boost the sport among township youth and create role models.
Tomorrow's meeting comes on the eve of the EP Kings' key showdown against the Pumas at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.
If the Kings win Friday's match, they will be assured of playing a promotion match to gain entry into the Currie Cup Premier Division at the end of the season.
Even though the Kings are unbeaten in the First Division, they need to beef up their team considerably if they plan to be competitive in Super Rugby.
There has been speculation that they have already secured the services of lock Steven Sykes (Sharks), centre Andries Strauss (Cheetahs) and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (Western Province).
The players have indicated they will be playing for the Kings next season. The signings are expected to be formally announced by the Kings once they have updated Border and SWD.
Besides these initial signings, there has been widespread speculation that the Kings are also looking at signing several Argentine players.
"We are spreading our net far and wide and we have been speaking to some Argentine players," Pamba said.
EP's chief executive said it was vital that a big crowd turn up to watch the Kings play the Pumas on Friday.