Bye welcome for tired Kings ahead of Sharks clash

Lionel Cronje
Picture: Gallo Images

This weekend’s Super Rugby bye could not have come at a better time for his resurgent team, says Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids.

After the gruelling three-match tour of Australia, the Kings made a triumphant return to South Africa when they thrashed the Melbourne Rebels 44-3 on Saturday.

The Kings’ next game is against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on May 13, and they will welcome the extra days off to regroup and take stock of their campaign.

“This bye weekend has definitely come at the right time for us. There are some very tired bodies,” Davids said.

“We will take a complete break from rugby and will get our mindset ready for our next game against the Sharks.

“There are one or two guys who still need some game time and they will be back on Thursday and Friday to train with the EP Kings’ SuperSport Rugby Challenge squad, who are preparing for their next game. “We will be assessing that.” After losing their opening match in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge to Western Province at the Wolfson Stadium, the EP Kings bounced back with a win over the SWD Eagles in George on Friday.

“The guys that are playing in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge are starting to press for positions,” Davids said.

“I don’t want to mention specific players, but some have really put their hands up and it is good to see that we have more depth in certain positions.”

It is unlikely that Davids will tamper too much with his side, who now have consecutive wins over the Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels under the belt.

He will also be relieved that his captain and playmaker Lionel Cronje is expected to be fit for the Sharks game after taking a knock and leaving the field against the Rebels.

The Kings came close to beating the Sharks in Durban earlier this season, and considering their recent hot winning streak, will fancy their chances in Port Elizabeth.

After making history by winning their first back-to-back Super Rugby matches and also recording their biggest win in the competition, the Kings will be a tough nut to crack in Port Elizabeth.

The Kings have never beaten South African opposition in Super Rugby and had a chance to end this hoodoo against the Sharks in Durban, before going down 19-17 earlier this season.

When the full Southern Kings squad regroup on Monday, Davids will emphasise the need for his team to improve on their discipline in their remaining matches.

“Our discipline was not good giving away penalties against the Rebels. That is one thing of the game we need to revisit so that we can concede less penalties,” Davids said.

“We were not happy with that at half time, and we spoke about it. That is something we will work on improving.”

Cronje said the Kings had shown good quality in several departments against the Rebels.

“We really put a full game together for the first time in defence and attack against the Rebels.”

The captain said he would be fit to take his place in the team against Sharks in two weeks.

“I just got a bit of a hard knock and a bit of concussion, but it is all good. It is not something long term.”

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