Isuzu Southern Kings director of rugby Robbi Kempson will continue performing the role of head coach to the Eastern Cape team until the end of the current Guinness PRO 14 season.
Kempson remains determined to appoint a high calibre coach to take charge of the senior team but he has given up any hope of that happening before the end of the 2019/2020 campaign and has instead set the start of the next season as his target for a head coach to be installed.
The Kings are seven games into the current PRO 14 season, meaning they are a third of the way through it. Kempson took up the coaching reins when plans to appoint a coach, initially intended to be a coach with an overseas coaching background, fell through during the pre-season.
Kempson is an interim coach, meaning he will step aside and focus more strongly on his directorship role once he has appointed a head coach. That isn’t going to happen at this point of the season though so he has accepted that he will be the coach for the foreseeable future.
“I do intend to have a new coach in place before the start of next season but we are too far into this campaign now and you can’t expect a new coach to come in mid-season,” said Kempson.
“I will continue to coach the team until the end of the current campaign. It is unlikely we’d be able to find a high calibre coach at short notice and one who’d step in at this point. If there was someone like that it would be someone who has just been sacked by his province or club, or is unhappy at his club, and that would be far from ideal. We are looking for someone of calibre.
“I will coach the team until we find the right guy. We don’t want to take a scatter-gun approach to the coaching appointment and then stumble along through a succession of different coaches. We want to get the right guy the first time.”
Kempson said he was sure such a person would become available once coaches start coming off contract at the end of the northern hemisphere club season.
“There must be someone of calibre who will be available soon, once the season is over, I just don’t think it will happen in mid-season,” he stressed.
Kempson said he had been helped by the astute signings that had been made when it came to his assistant coaches as well as the support he was getting from his board of directors.
“We have Braam van Straaten and Vuyo Zanqa working with us as assistant coaches and now Swys de Bruin is with us as an attack coach on a consultancy basis. We have good individuals helping out and that makes it easier for me.
“What is important is that we must just carry on improving incrementally and continue our improvement as a unit.”
The Kings will next be in action in the PRO 14 when they travel to Scotland to play Edinburgh on 4 January.