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Deon Davids: Southern Kings players uplifted after Australian tour

Deon Davids: Southern Kings players uplifted after Australian tour

The Southern Kings, after a three-week tour to Australia, have enveloped some much-needed confidence, as they take to the field in their home town of Port Elizabeth again at the NMB Stadium against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.

On tour, the Kings narrowly and promisingly went down 46-41 to the Western Force before going down 47-34 to the Queensland Reds a week later in two well-acclaimed try fests.

In their approach, they quite visibly played a positive brand of rugby, which turned heads and dropped jaws in their prospects for the competition moving forward, as well as their life-line proposition for their future in the Super Rugby competition.

To cherry-top their tour off, and with this looming context and speculation of being axed from the competition, the Kings then pulled off a historical 26-24 win over 2014 Super Rugby Champions, the Waratahs in their final outing.

“It was fantastic to win on tour like that; we had some good experiences on and off the field over there and the guys continued to learn throughout the three weeks,” Southern Kings’ Head Coach, Deon Davids, briefed at the stadium on Tuesday morning.

Against the Waratahs, the Kings did trail 17-0 at one stage in the first half, before striking their first blood on the 35th minute – soon before half-time.

That was the beginning of an agonising string of points that ensued for the Kings, as they went on to score an additional 19 unanswered points in the second half to ascertain victory, before conceding a constellation try after the siren sounded. To this, Davids mentioned that his charges need to work on their consistency throughout given matches.

“We started against the Force quite well, then we were unlucky in the second half; against the Reds we started the second half much better than the first, and against the Waratahs we took the game in the second half,” said Davids.

“We tend to often play catch-up rugby, and a big focus for us is to improve on that and develop a balance in our approach.”

With this backdrop, Davids did imply that the side returned from tour with a well-adjusted on-field conception and as a more positively wired unit, which can improve on their ethos and performances as a whole.

“The players had a lot of opportunity to learn from one another. In terms of combinations, the guys had the chance to work and do research together and then applying the changes on the field, so the tour in that way helped a lot,” Davids said.

“You can see that the guys are a much closer bunch, with a lot of belief, which makes a big difference.”

Ahead of the Melbourne Rebels’ clash, their fourth Australian opposition in a row, Davids mentioned that this is a high-standard tournament and no team can be underestimated. This also comes against the setting of the Rebels being the possible Australian axe for the competition’s cull in 2018.

“This is Super Rugby, we have to start over again, and although we are happy with the win last week, we are focused on achieving quality and getting the things right that we highlighted needing improvement.”

“We have huge respect for our opponents; you don’t go to Durban and get a result like that easily,” said Davids in accordance to the Rebels’ 9-9 draw against the Sharks last weekend.

Davids also implied that the Kings facing a possible axe from the competition has to some extent uplifted his charges in the current competition fold.

“We know the story and what’s being said behind the scenes and sometimes it is a bit difficult, but our focus is just on becoming better as a team and better as individuals.”

“The guys know that the future lies in their own hands and the performance that they put up on the field has an impact on where they might be and where they might go; so our focus is completely on ourselves,” Davids added.

The Southern Kings are set to play the Rebels at 19:15 on Saturday evening, with high hopes and much-anticipation to make it their third win of the season.

Image: Deon Davids.