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Southern Kings abort search for new head coach amid qualification confusion

The Southern Kings have aborted their search for a new head coach amid confusion over the qualifications required for the role.

Deon Davids left the Pro14 franchise in June and the Southern Kings duly initiated a process to replace him.

Earlier this week, Loyiso Dotwana, chairman of the Southern Kings board, issued a statement in response to “widespread and largely inaccurate speculations in the media”, in which he stated only one interviewed candidate had the required World Rugby Level 3 qualification.

A further statement from Dotwana on Friday revealed the search for a new coach has now been suspended, with Robbi Kempson taking interim charge of first-team affairs.

“The events of the past few days have convinced the GRC, the majority shareholder in the ISUZU Southern Kings, to accept the initial recommendation of the interviewing panel to abort the process of selecting a new head coach,” read Dotwana’s latest statement.

“The panel reported that they felt the process was undermined around the confusion of the World Rugby Level 3 certification. In addition, the persistent media leaks have further undermined the integrity of the process.

“In the interim, Robbi Kempson, will act as interim Head Coach until the position is filled. The GRC wishes to thank the candidates who showed interest in the position as well as the interviewing panel for their commitment and diligence.”

A report in South Africa last weekend suggested former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers had been ruled out of contention as he did not possess the necessary qualifications.

This prompted an angry response from De Villiers, who insisted he attained the required credentials in 1997 and shared a document purporting to verify the matter.

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