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Kings want to do more than tackle

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 05:51
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We need to get our hands on the ball
Quote-end

Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons was stating the obvious when he said his team played "with a great deal of heart" against the Sharks last Saturday.

Following their 22-10 win over the Western Force in their Super Rugby debut, the 12-21 loss to the Sharks further enhanced the reputation of the Eastern Cape side as a legitimate Super Rugby outfit.

However, Solomons would like to see his team do more than just tackle with gusto.

They must play with the ball in hand a lot more and he is hoping that trend can start against the defending champion Chiefs in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

In their opening match, against the Force, the Kings made and astonishing 194 tackles to the Force's 108. The Kings missed just 15 tackles to the 26 missed by the Force, as the Eastern Cape men secured a 22-10 win.

Last week against 2012's beaten finalists, the Sharks, the Kings made 165 tackles and missed 15. The Sharks made 87 tackles and missed nine - a 21-12 win for the team from Durban.

"Our defence was tremendous," Solomons told this website in an interview during the build-up to Friday's encounter with Chiefs.

"With two minutes to go we were trailing [the Sharks] by 12-18, we got a penalty, kicked it to the corner and there was an opportunity of an upset."

That showed the heart with which they played and their commitment on defence - to have kept last year's beaten finalists tryless.

In fact the only the Brumbies have conceded fewer tries than the Kings, who saw the Force cross their tryline twice.

However, Solomons is the first to admit that they can't keep relying on defence and have had too little possession, particularly in the first half last week.

"We need to get our hands on the ball and keep possession," the Kings mentor said.

"It was a fantastic performance, it showed tremendous character and it was a monumental defensive effort.

"You must remember, these guys [the Sharks] played in the Super Rugby Final last year and we were playing in the Final of Division One [second tier domestic competition in South Africa]."

Asked how he plans to change that statistic and avoid his team becoming a defensive unit, Solomons said they need to start cutting down on their high error count.

They conceded 17 turnovers against the Force and 16 against the Sharks.

"What we have to learn in this competition is that if you make a mistake, then you end up defending for phase, after phase, after phase.

"It is important that we cut down our error rate.

"We have constantly built our set piece, which is a good platform from which to play.

"So the key is that we cut down the errors and develop the ability to retain the ball through phases - that is very important."

By Jan de Koning

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