The Eastern Province Kings will be playing in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division this year after the proposal to expand the Premier Division from six to eight teams was passed during a Special General Meeting in Johannesburg yesterday.
A round robin competition between the remaining seven unions in the ABSA Currie Cup First Division will take place after the Vodacom Cup, to determine the eighth team that will join them in the Premier Division.
This follows after the initial proposal to promote both the EP Kings and Pumas to an expanded premier division in September last year, failed to achieve a two thirds majority vote, despite securing 19 of the 29 votes in favour of the move.
Subsequently the Pumas secured promotion to premier division, by defeating the bottom placed Griquas in the promotion / relegation playoffs. SA Rugby was then requested to reconsider the proposal to expand the Currie Cup, the results of which were concluded today.
“This is great news for the region as it will help us to maintain the momentum that was created through the Southern Kings Super Rugby participation last year,” said EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous.
“We are glad to say that the outcome of the vote today clearly shows that the unions have the best interests of South African Rugby at heart,” he said.
“We have said previously that there is a hunger for top flight rugby in the Eastern Cape and the amazing crowds that attended the Super Rugby games at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last year have shown that this is the case,” Crous said.
Crous said by having the EP Kings take part in the Currie Cup premier division, the people of the Eastern Cape would once again have the opportunity to come and watch teams such as the Blue Bulls, The Sharks, Western Province, the Cheetahs, Pumas and Lions play against the EP Kings.
Crous said that this decision would also create stability within South Africa Rugby structures, as the promotion relegation playoffs between the Kings and the bottom ranked South African Super Rugby Franchise, would now fall away.