Harsh lessons for Kings

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 11:11
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The Kings coaching staff were left searching for positives after their drubbing at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Kings coaching staff were left searching for positives after their drubbing at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Super Rugby newcomers went down 55-20 in their first away game against a clinical Crusaders team and head coach Matt Sexton, who used to play for the Crusaders, admitted that his team had simply been outclassed.

Despite the heavy loss, Sexton was pleased with the fight his side showed to play hard until the final whistle after they ended the match on a high by scoring the final try.

"I think we got a little bit of a lesson in possession, momentum and a couple of other things, in saying that though the one pleasing aspect of the game was again the character shown by the boys.

"I think they certainly put in an 80-minute performance which showed their heart and character.

"A lot of credit has got to go to our conditioning team who have prepared the guys amazingly well, they were still going in the 80th minute after all of the travel and stuff we have had and we didn't get any injuries," he said.

Sexton paid tribute to the star-studded Crusaders side whose big-name players stepped up and delivered a quality performance.

"We played a very classy outfit, they had a number of All Blacks who are probably the best in their positions in the world and a lot of former All Blacks and guys on the fringe so it was a truly international team that we came up against.

"We shut them down a little bit quicker in the second half but I think one of our biggest problems we had in the game, was we turned over too much ball.

"There was just far too much, both from general play and we turned over a few from set piece... but general play we just turned over too much ball. And when you turn over the ball, you just don’t have it for ten minutes. So that was a valuable lesson to be learnt.

"The things we have to work on is the value of possession. We have to cut our error rate," he said.

The Kiwi coach admitted that the Kings were no match for the home side, but expects them to learn from the experience and be better off for it.

"It was a tough game, we have had a bit of a disruptive week obviously, but no excuses they were certainly pretty classy and we are going to be better for it.

Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said the team had escaped relatively unscathed from the encounter with the Crusaders.

"We have actually come out fairly unscathed out of this game. There is no one we’re concerned about," he said.

Solomons said Andries Strauss, Steven Sykes and Hanness Franklin, all of whom had missed out the game due to injury, were on the mend and would, most likely, be available for consideration for next week's game.

"The Hurricanes are a tremendous side and will compete for a play-off position, and it will be a massive challenge for us. I think having guys like Sykes and Strauss coming back will make a huge difference. They are experienced rugby players and they add value in both their experience and leadership,” he said.

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Force 11 2 0 9 11
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Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
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Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4