Coach wants Kings to deliver an extra ‘E’
The E-word was being thrown around by Isuzu Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids at training this week.
He said that if the Kings wanted to beat the Cheetahs on their home turf in Bloemfontein on Saturday they needed to add an extra ‘E’ to their game plan.
That was the order Davids gave to his men ahead of what promises to be a hard-fought Guinness PRO14 SA derby.
“I asked the boys for effort against Edinburgh and they brought that,” Davids said.
“This week we must add the other ‘E’ and that is execution.
“We had a lot of opportunities and our execution was not up to standard. If we can do that we can score points.
“We learnt lot of lessons from the first game against the Cheetahs.
“They have some clever coaches, so we know they will have one or two things up their sleeve.
“It will be important for us to improve on fundamentals.
“Our scrums are still a work in progress and we have some good lineout players.
“Now it is a matter of improving our execution.
“Our priority is to get our set piece right and you cannot play without quality ball.
“In our first game against the Cheetahs, that was our huge achilles heel.
“We showed that with ball in hand, and defensively, we can match any team, but if you don’t get quality ball it is difficult,” the coach said.
Davids is expecting the Cheetahs to play an expansive game in Bloemfontein.
“They use the width of the field and they can play coast to coast and you have to keep your focus for 80 minutes.
“They have players who can make line-breaks from anywhere on the field.
“We know it will be a different battle compared with Edinburgh because South African derbies are never easy.
“Now we must build on our past two showings so that the curve can keep on going up.”
It will be a battle of the speedsters when Rabz Maxwane and Yaw Penxe go head to head.
Cheetahs flyer Maxwane is the competition’s leading try scorer with 10, while Penxe has dotted down six times.
Penxe’s teammate Bjorn Basson and Cheetahs scrumhalf Shaun Venter are hot on their heels with five tries each.
The Free Staters are on a streak of three successive wins, which has nudged them to within seven points of Ospreys and Connacht, who are in third and fourth place respectively on the Conference A log.
These wins have moved the Cheetahs into a position to play their way into the quarterfinal for the second season in a row.
The top three teams in each of the two conferences will go through to the quarters.
The Cheetahs will enter the match with a flawless record of having played four and won four games against the Kings.
If the Cheetahs register a victory, it will mark the first time they have won four in a row in the PRO14 since joining the competition in 2017.