Southern Kings need consistency, improved concentration - JC Astle
Captain wants team to up game in final seven PRO14 matches
It is time for the inconsistent Isuzu Southern Kings to stop blowing hot and cold and improve their concentration levels, Kings skipper JC Astle said.
The Kings were pipped 40-36 by the Cheetahs in their last outing, and Astle has called on his team to up their game in their final seven Guinness PRO14 outings.
“Our team spirit is going a bit better since the start of the season, but we are blowing hot and cold and that is not what we want,” Astle said.
“We want to start well and play a full 80 minutes. That is our goal. With teams like the Cheetahs if they get a little sniff it is like a runaway train. Luckily we stopped the train and came back well in Bloemfontein.
“Now we are trying to find that full 80 minute performance and that is the key for us.”
The Kings exploded into action in the final minutes against the Cheetahs with tries from Tienie Burger, Alandre van Rooyen and Berton Klaasen.
Klaasen’s try came after the hooter, and if there had been more time left on the clock, the Kings would have fancied their chances of pulling off a sensational come-from-behind win.
However, as has been the case before this season, the Kings were forced to play catch-up rugby after they were trailing 40-15 after 65 minutes.
“We threw the kitchen sink at them at the end after being so far behind,” Astle said. “There are lapses in concentration in our game at the moment and fundamentals let us down in the first half. But it was a good finish and we take positives out of that and we can step up more.
“Our substitutes are doing a good job when they come on and they pick up the tempo. The Kings are trying to play a good brand and get the wins as well. So it is a balance we are trying to find at the moment.
“We have also been trying to rectify our discipline and penalty count. When we played Edinburgh away, and lost badly, we only gave away six penalties. It’s a fine balance we are trying to find at the moment between penalties and yellow cards.”
Impressive Cheetahs flyhalf Tian Schoeman, who was named Man of the Match after scoring a try and kicking five conversions, paid tribute to the Kings.
“The Kings gave us a little bit of a scare at the end and if the game had been a little bit longer, it would have been a tight match. But we pulled in through in the end.” Schoeman said.
The Kings have a bye this weekend, before they travel to Ireland to face Munster in Cork on February 15...