Defeat not an option for the Kings

PREMIUM


The bare equation facing the battling Isuzu Southern Kings at the Madibaz Stadium on Sunday is pretty simple.This is one of those gritty “win-at-all-costs” dogfight scenarios where defeat does not bear thinking about for either team.Die-hard Kings fans can expect a vicious basement battle when the Kings face off against fellow strugglers the Dragons.With only three rounds in the Guinness PRO14 remaining, the winners of this clash are likely to avoid the wooden spoon in Conference B.After 18 outings, the Kings have emerged on the winning side only twice, but they will fancy their chances against an unconvincing Dragons side who are a point behind them.Though the Dragons have won four matches, they find themselves at the foot of the table after the Kings earned precious bonus points in narrow defeats.When the teams faced off in Port Elizabeth last season, the Kings hammered the Welshmen 45-13 and that scoreline remains their biggest win in the competition.Kings backline coach Chumani Booi said his team would be looking to spread the ball wide in dry South African conditions.“We always look to shift the ball around and see if we can move the ball to out wide to the speedsters,” Booi said.“Hopefully the weather is in our favour and we can do that at the Madibaz Stadium.”Booi said flyhalf Bader Pretorius was fitting into the Kings’ systems well since his arrival in Port Elizabeth.“Bader is growing and we must remember he arrived halfway into our season. It took him a couple of games to adapt to how we play and he is starting to settle in.“He is young and has a lot of things to learn because PRO14 is a totally different competition from other tournaments.”There will be special milestones for two Kings players on Sunday.Forward Dries van Schalkwyk will be playing his 100th PRO14 match (for the Kings and Zebre) and centre Berton Klaasen will be making a landmark 50th appearance for the Kings.Van Schalkwyk’s appearances have been spread across matches for Italian club Zebre and the Kings, while Klaasen’s Kings appearances have been in Super Rugby and PRO14.“It is a magnificent milestone for Dries and Berton and I am happy for both of them,” Kings head coach Deon Davids said.“Berton has been absolutely fantastic from Super Rugby going into PRO14 for the Kings. For Dries to play 100 games in PRO14 is a huge achievement.”A decision to rescind a red card against bustling centre Tertius Kruger has given the Kings a late boost.Kruger was given his marching orders in the Kings’ game against Ulster in Belfast by Scottish referee Lloyd Linton at the Kingspan Stadium.On Tuesday, a Guinness PRO14 disciplinary committee ruled unanimously there was no act of foul play by Kruger.

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