Kings coach banks on Van Aswegen to add a ruthless edge in quest for scoring opportunities
AMBITIOUS EP Kings rugby coach Mzwandile Stick says his team must be ruthless and deliver a killer punch when they are presented with scoring opportunities.
Stick made the plea ahead of his team’s opening Vodacom Cup match against defending champions Griquas at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium today (kick-off 3pm).
“I think that is where we are lacking at the moment because we had most of the game in the Golden Lions’ half last week, but we did not covert it into points,” he said.
“You saw a couple of opportunities which flyhalf Tony Jantjies did not convert into points. When Gary van Aswegen came on he had a big impact on the game and when he got opportunities to go for penalties he was always floating those balls over the poles.
“So that is why we have Gary starting in this game. We know that he is an allrounder and if you want to play running rugby, Gary is that kind of player that can offer you that kind of game.”
Stick says Griquas have a hard-won reputation for delivering the goods in the Vodacom Cup. “The one thing that we respect about Griquas is that when they play Vodacom Cup they try to go all the way and win the tournament. It will be hard for us starting against the defending champions, but we have high standards for our team. We want to be where we belong.
“For example, we are a Currie Cup Premier Division team and next year we go into Super Rugby, so that is the standard we now have to live with.
“I understand it will be a big challenge for us but we can measure ourselves to see where we are.
“These are the games we live for and wake up for in the morning. These are the games that you dream about because you are playing against the champions at home.”
Stick says his team owe their loyal fans a victory. “We owe it big time to our fans in Port Elizabeth. We gave them a win last week against a strong Lions team. At least, now, we are moving in the right direction.
“The main focus was that we wanted to fix the defence structures. We struggled against the Cheetahs in our first friendly and our defence was nowhere in that game.
“The positive thing is that the gap between the attack and defence game in our side is starting to balance now.
“So the one thing I took from the game [against the Lions] was that the defence was solid, and I am not stressing about our attack as I know they have the potential to be dangerous.”
New EP captain Shane Gates, who led the team for the first time when they beat the Lions, said he was relishing the leadership role. “It is going to be a very physical game.
“I spent a month in Bloemfontein [where he met the Griquas players] and I got to know some of the guys. They love playing against EP and it is something they are going to enjoy.”