Don't tell me it's a surprise. Don't ask for compassion or moderation in our judgements about the Kings involvement in next year's expanded Super rugby series.

They have been a basket case for some time and now the bamboo is shredding at a terrible rate.

Reports about players being unpaid circulated all year before assistant coach Carlos Spencer quit in protest, captain Tim Whitehead and other players left then a fortnight after being appointed, new coach Brent Janse van Rensburg resigned this month.

Management of the impoverished Kings has been handed over to the South African Rugby Union but the ingoing shambles and Japan's inability to make headway with their staff and players, is a poor look for a revamped series starting in two months.


It will worry South Africans living here, others who take a keen interest in teams in the Republic and will be an immense concern for those who administer Sanzar.

The continued argument for heavy South African involvement in Super rugby is based on their television rights and that broader impact of coverage through Europe.

However for those of us who think the latest expansion chapter and pools concept is flawed-Argentina is an exception from reports about their squad and planning - the fiasco at the Kings is no surprise and is a result of a blemished idea.

If you are interested in rugby and want to see a decent Super rugby series then you should be concerned about the 2016 version, especially the South African section.

However we should see decent competition amongst the New Zealand teams and in the crossover matches with Australian sides although the absence of a round-robin draw is an in-built weakness.

Former Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters has skedaddled off to work with the Pumas and former exec Andy Marinos has returned to try and work his way through the problems.
Right now he'll feel like someone fending away the executioner's blade with his bare hands.

The Kings are on the verge of a strike according to the latest reports with some players and staff living on $100 a month, others evicted from their homes and personal relationships strained.

Local observers have been less than complimentary about the rugby talent left to try and form a squad, under academy coach Deon Davids, for a professional tournament.


"These problems have been going on for a while, and it's been really tough for everyone affected," former captain Whitehead told SA Rugbymag.

"You just get to the point when enough is enough and you've got to make a difficult decision."

Another source said many players and staff were working for nothing and support for the Kings was dwindling.

Super XV Rugby reported that 30 players will strike unless they are paid their outstanding wages by the end of next week where there has been rising criticism of SARU's plans to use sevens and under 20 players to fill out the squad.