‘Shell-shocked’ Kings need to up focus
Losing focus at critical times and poor discipline played a part in the downfall of the Isuzu Southern Kings when they were beaten 43-7 in Port Elizabeth by the Ospreys, Kings head coach Deon Davids said.
Any hopes of an upset Kings win in this Guinness PRO14 clash at the Madibaz Stadium evaporated when Ospreys raced into a 33-0 halftime lead.
It was a crucial win for the Welsh side, who kept their playoff hopes alive with just one match in the league stage of the competition remaining.
“I felt we started well and I saw some good pictures in the first 20 minutes,” Davids said.
“But when they broke our line from nowhere to score their first try, we just lost focus until halftime.
“But we responded well and only conceded 10 points in the second half.
“There was a huge contrast in what happened in the 20 minutes before halftime and what happened in the rest of the game.
“The big difference for me is that at critical times we just lost focus and our discipline also let us down.
“I felt we were also a bit unlucky in terms of a few things that did not go our way, such as the bounce of the ball or a call here or there which did not assist us.
Davids, however, was gracious in defeat and praised the showing of the Ospreys.
“Overall one must just give credit to the Ospreys.
“They were just brilliant in the first half with ball in hand.
“You could see the experience in their decision-making.
“I think their fullback Dan Evans was outstanding in beating defenders and that was the difference.
“Their experience showed and they used their opportunities.
“The Kings left a couple of tries out there.
“When we created opportunities, we could not finish them off when we got into their half.
“We worked hard to keep the ball against the wind to get into the Ospreys’ 22.
“But when we got there, there were one or two mistakes or poor decisions which allowed them to get turnovers and they used the wind to get back into our half.
Kings skipper JC Astle said he could not fault the effort of his team.
“It was not the ideal performance and we had wanted to put on a good show in our last home game,” Astle said.
“I also think a few decisions did not go our way and obviously I cannot fault the guys for effort.
“We will have a look and see what happened.
“The Ospreys capitalised on their opportunities and they are a quality side.”
Ospreys hat-trick hero and man of the match Evans said it had been a key victory because it kept their playoff hopes alive.
“We knew it would be a tough challenge with the strong wind and the Kings started off well, but we showed our ability and thoroughly deserved the bonus point
“It was a massive win taking us into our final game of the competition and hopefully we can keep the momentum going and finish strongly.”
In a lopsided encounter, the rampant Ospreys ran in seven tries against a Kings side who were left shell-shocked after the fierce first-half onslaught by the visitors.
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