Kings for a day

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 18:27
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The Southern Kings can continue their Super Rugby stint with pride and confidence after their gutsy maiden victory at the weekend.

The Southern Kings can continue their Super Rugby stint with pride and confidence after their gutsy maiden victory at the weekend.

Despite playing at home, the debutants had looked destined for defeat. Their on-field pre-season preparations - the high error rate and lack of synergy in addition to the mediocre results - pointed to a baptism of fire at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Western Force aren’t exactly title contenders. Heck, they’re not even play-off hopefuls, and are likely to finish the season in the bottom three as they have done consistently since 2010.

However, the Perth side’s reputation shouldn’t detract from what the Kings achieved on Saturday. Love them or hate them, but you have to respect the fact that the polarising newcomers did what no other debutant franchise could.

None of the three teams who have been added to the Super Rugby fray since 2006 were able to win their debut fixtures. Like the Kings, the Cheetahs, Force and Melbourne Rebels all had home ground advantage, yet went down to the Bulls (30-18), Brumbies (25-10) and Waratahs (43-0) respectively.

Those teams, did however, bounce back from their disappointing debut defeats to a certain degree. Although both Australian franchises ended their inaugural Super Rugby campaigns as wooden spoonists, they achieved some credible results along the way.

The Force were the least successful, securing just the one win - over fellow newcomers the Cheetahs (16-14) - but they also managed admirable draws with the Crusaders (23-all) and Lions (34-all).

The Rebels registered three wins in their debut season in 2011, beating the Brumbies (25-24), Hurricanes (42-25) and Force (26-25), while the Cheetahs claimed a record five victories over the Sharks (27-26), Hurricanes (27-25), Stormers (31-25), Reds (10-6) and Lions (28-23) and a 10th-place finish.

The Kings’ position in this hierarchy remains to be seen, although despite their dream start, they will probably be on par with the Force rather than the Rebels and Cheetahs in terms of overall wins.      

Yes, they are going to struggle and sure they are in for a rough ride, but one has to believe Saturday’s triumph was a sweet payoff for all involved, particularly for a rugby virtuoso like Alan Solomons, who’s dedicated himself to the resurrection of Eastern Province rugby since 2009.

Even if just for a day, the Kings had their moment in the sun. The historic occasion will live on in Eastern Province rugby folklore forever, irrespective of whether or not the Kings go on to finish the season at the bottom of the log.

By Quintin van Jaarsveld

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28