Kings showed passion and pride in defeat, says Kempson
Though his team were beaten 24-12 by Connacht, Isuzu Southern Kings interim head coach Robbi Kempson praised his charges for showing passion and pride.
It was a sixth defeat in seven outings for the Kings and left Kempson with much food for thought ahead of his team’s end-of-year break.
After leaving the Showgrounds empty-handed, the Kings remained rooted to the bottom of Conference B in the Guinness PRO14 competition.
The Kings will next be in action on January 4 when they face Edinburgh in Scotland.
“I thought we got stuck in and that is exactly what we wanted,” Kempson said.
“The team wanted to show some passion and pride.
“We knew that Connacht would be dangerous in the second half and they played the territory game exceptionally well.
“They kept us in our half; we hardly got into their half.
“Unfortunately when we did we did not use our opportunities. We made a number of mistakes and let ourselves down with individual errors.
“The Kings did not manage to convert and I think that was probably the difference in the game.
“It is never easy to play here in Galway and it is really a tough place to visit.
“To come up against any of the Irish sides and to be able to match them physically is good. I think we have done a pretty good job as a South African side travelling over here.”
Connacht head coach Andy Friend said it had been a frustrating game.
“It was not a perfect win by any stretch of the imagination and it was a very frustrating game,” Friend said.
“There were errors on our side. We went in with a focus on discipline and we did not get it in terms of the pitches we gave the referee and us performing our roles.
“But we will wake up after the game and we have five points we will take that and make sure we are better next week.
“’I would love to see the turnover statistics. If you make as many turnovers as that and give away as many penalties you will make tackles. That is the penalty you will pay.
“Connacht were fortunate in that when we were able to build pressure we tended to get points out of that.
“It is one of those games that will not be coming up in any highlights reel.”
Friend was not happy with the showing of his team’s set pieces against the Kings.
“For us our set pieces did not function as well as it usually does for various reasons. In saying that, we scored tries which was good, but we are going to have to be much better.
“It was great to see Bundee Aki and Jarrad Butler coming back. We are picking up a few players who are starting to come back for us which is pleasing.”
Hand-running John Porch scored two tries as Connacht moved to within a point of Conference B leaders Munster.
The Australian wing crossed once in each half, while further scores by Aki and Finlay Bealham secured a bonus-point win.
Despite the defeat, Kings impressed at times at the Sportsgrounds and scored tries through Erich Cronje and Scott van Breda.
Connacht 24: Tries: Bundee Aki, Finlay Bealham, John Porch (2). Conversions: Conor Fitzgerald (2).
Southern Kings 12: Tries: Erich Cronje, Scott van Breda. Conversion: Van Breda.