Speculation about the Southern Kings being axed from Super Rugby next year has helped to fire up his team, says giant lock Wilhelm van der Sluys.
The Kings registered a stunning win over the Waratahs in Sydney last week and are aiming for another victory when they face the Melbourne Rebels at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night (kickoff 7.30pm).
Asked whether talk of the Kings getting the chop had galvanised his team, Van der Sluys said: “I think it has been a motivating factor.
“Everyone is in the same situation as myself because we don’t know where we are after Super Rugby.
“We are all playing for our future and that definitely motivates us.
“Everyone speaks about it, but not in a negative way. It motivates us. The guys all talk about it in a positive way.”
Van der Sluys is on loan at the Southern Kings from the English team Worcester Warriors and linked up with the Port Elizabeth side after the Super Rugby season kicked off.
“We are all looking forward to playing the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday and it is going to be another tough game.
“They beat the Brumbies and drew with the Sharks in their past two games.
“We really hope for a big crowd and are grateful for the support and positive feedback we have been getting from the public in South Africa.
“Hopefully, that will help to fill the stands. “The Kings are not underestimating the Rebels and we will do our analysis throughout the week.”
Van der Sluys said it had been great for the Kings to end their Australian tour with a win over the Waratahs.
“I am glad we could pull through a victory because we have had a couple of close games,” he said.
“A tour like that, when you are together for three weeks it helps team spirit.
“You are basically in each others’ faces for 24 hours a day and you get to know one another well.
“We have grown a lot after this tour and the group is even tighter.”
He said he was enjoying packing down with fellow lock Irne Herbst.
“I used to play against him in the Varsity Cup, so it’s nice to be teammates now rather than opponents.
“It is also great working with our forwards coach Barend Pieterse.
“Barend is a lineout specialist, which makes our jobs so much easier. He puts in lots of hours behind the scenes and I must take my hat off to him.
“It helps the Kings having a lot of lineout options and that makes my task job as lineout caller much easier.
“Collectively, the guys put in a lot of work and we are glad the set piece finally worked better against the Waratahs.”
Kings coach Deon Davids said speculation that his team would be chopped from Super Rugby was not proving to be a distraction.
“We know what the story is behind the scenes and what the situation is,” he said.
“Sometimes it is a bit difficult, but our focus is totally on becoming better as a team.”
The Kings will name their team to play the Rebels today.