A lack of money and quality players are the biggest challenges facing the EP Elephants.
“Money is the biggest issue for Eastern Province rugby,” said head coach Peter de Villiers after his side’s final Preparation Series match against the Cheetahs at the weekend (they lost 71-12).
“I do, however, have a few business models I want to put on the table and I know there are people with money who will invest in the proper model,” he said.
De Villiers also pointed to the quality of players currently playing in the Eastern Cape.
“There are a few good players in the team, but everyone would benefit if we were able to lure a few quality men to the Elephants, and surrounding the current group with them,” said the former Springbok coach.
De Villiers used a comparison between rugby and athletics when he reflected on the Preparation Series and his team’s four big defeats.
“I want to summarise this competition by saying there are many athletes who can run the 400m but it’s only Wayde van Niekerk who can be the world champion,” he said. “There are thousands of rugby players but only a few who can be regarded as world-class players.”
Despite the heavy defeats, De Villiers said he’d found some positives to give him hope.
“The guys now know what mental step-up is needed for being a provincial player,” he said. “Also, as the competition went on, we started playing a bit more and created more opportunities.
“To think where we were when we started against the Bulls (conceding 80 points), against the ropes and with no solid base to work from, to where we are now.
“A solid tight-five would boost this team significantly; then we could start playing some rugby.”