Rugby: King Sexton is a Kiwi

Matt Sexton. Photo / Supplied
Matt Sexton. Photo / Supplied

Former Canterbury hooker Matt Sexton will coach South Africa's new Super Rugby franchise, the Southern Kings, when they debut in the Super Rugby competition next season.

Sexton will take charge from July, guiding the Port Elizabeth-based team in the Currie Cup national championship ahead of their maiden southern hemisphere provincial competition appearance next February - a decision that has caused ire in other South African franchises unwilling for one of their number to make way for the Kings.

Current coach Alan Solomons becomes director of rugby and he lavished praise on 41-year-old Sexton, whose coaching staff includes compatriot Brad Mooar and former Springbok centre De Wet Barry.

"Matt is head and shoulders the right guy for Kings rugby. He is a good man and has the capability to end up coaching New Zealand," the former Western Province coach said.

"I personally vouch for Matt Sexton as he possesses the exact character traits that we are looking for in this region - integrity, altruism and professionalism."

Sexton, now 41, made 128 appearances for Canterbury, moved to Irish province Ulster when Solomons coached there, and is now rugby academy manager of the Tasman provincial team.

The appointment of a third New Zealand coach means that South African Super Rugby teams will be 60 per cent led by New Zealanders next season, unless the Lions are relegated.

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell is currently the Lions coach and the Sharks are coached by John Plumtree, also a New Zealander.

Sexton will be assisted by Brad Mooar who is also a New Zealander and he leaves his current position as head coach of the Canterbury under-19s to become the Kings' specialist skills coach.

The Southern Kings are a politically motivated team formed to develop rugby talent in the Eastern Cape Region of South Africa.

The South African Rugby Union have guaranteed the Kings a place in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament but the Union have yet to reveal how this will be implemented as there are already 15 teams and expansion has been ruled out.

- Herald on Sunday

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