Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
16 Feb 2017
7:07 pm

Siyanda Grey and Kings keep their goals simple and spirits high

Heinz Schenk

Pretty much everything is still against the embattled franchise before 2017's Super Rugby campaign but there are some small victories too,

Siyanda Grey epitomises the Kings' arduous journey towards acceptance ... and even respect. Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images.

If there’s one player that is a perfect example of the Kings’ rocky journey in Super Rugby, it’s Siyanda Grey.

South African rugby needs to be honest about the embattled Eastern Cape franchise’s prospects in 2017: they do look rather bleak.

Yet despite essentially everything being stacked against the Kings, there is a sense that they start this campaign on a blank canvas.

Unlike 2016, the liquidation of the Eastern Province Rugby Union didn’t rumble in the background.

Contracting didn’t drag on until the season had started.

Heck, the Kings actually had a relatively normal pre-season schedule.

Also read: SA’s best hope: The Lions squad dissected

Grey has been at the franchise since their first campaign in 2013.

Most of his teammates have moved but the 27-year-old utility back, who has been plagued by injuries, has stayed.

He wants to make up for lost time, start on his own blank canvas.

“The only goal I’ve set for myself is to get game time,” said Grey.

“My only wish is to be injury-free this season. That is the focus for me right now.”

It sounds painfully simple but when you’re part of the Kings, you don’t (and possibly can’t afford to) have unrealistic goals.

Because when a side is put in a merciless position like the men from Port Elizabeth, the slightest semblance of stability is good enough.

“I can’t compare last year to this year because we had difficulties last year, but this year everything is in place, and we are looking good,” said Grey.

“We are focusing on this year and we have prepared well for the year, and it has been really good so far.”

Even the appointment of veteran prop Schalk Ferreira as captain on Thursday is an indication that the Kings aren’t in as much strife as some doomsayers believe.

After all, not many would bet a 33-year-old looshead with experience in France would be happy in the Bay.

“Schalk is a great ambassador for the franchise. He’s an experienced Super Rugby player that wore the Kings jersey through different campaigns and battles with pride and honour,” said Deon Davids, head coach.

“He worked extremely hard during the off-season and was a good example for young and old players. He stood out as a natural leader.”

The Kings on Thursday also revealed their home kit for the season.

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