Kings seek elusive win

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 13:35
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The Southern Kings are tired of being the tournament whipping boys and looking for an elusive first win on tour.

The Southern Kings are tired of being the tournament whipping boys and looking for an elusive first win on tour.

Apart from their win over the hapless Western Force in their opening match and an admirable loss in a tryless game against the Sharks, the Super Rugby rookies have been shipping bonus points every week.

Next up are the tournament's pacesetters, the Brumbies, in Canberra and Kings captain Andries Strauss believes now is as good a time as any to end their losing streak.

Despite losing heavily to the Crusaders (20-55) and Hurricanes (30-46) on the New Zealand leg of their tour, Strauss said the trip is going well.

"But will be much better if we can get a win," he told this website in a telephone interview from the team's base in Australia, adding that they are making progress despite the lopsided results.

"Every week gain confidence and our play improves," the Kings skipper said, adding: "However, it is very important that we get a win and come away from this tour with some league points."

The big defeats have also not diminish the team spirit.

"Off the field the tour is great and the guys are enjoying it - for many of the players it is a new experience.

"It is not difficult to get the guys to train and they are all eager to get going.

"They key is for us to get that enthusiasm [that is present] off the field onto the field and get that win on tour."

The Brumbies, who have lost just once in six starts this season, have emerged as one of the tournament favourites under the expert tutelage of World Cup-winning former Springbok coach Jake White.

And their game plan, often said to be South African in nature, is very effective.

"They do play a lot of rugby in the opposition half and they have a good kicking game," Strauss said, adding: "They also don't make a lot of mistakes, which means they don't give you many opportunities to score against them.

"Our biggest challenge will be to play in their half and then retain the ball to ensure we systematically break their defensive line down and get points on the board.

"In any game it is vital to play more rugby in the opposition half than your own," he added.

The 29-year-old Bok, who has been making Super Rugby trips to Australasia since 2006, said the toughest part of touring is being taken out of your comfort zone.

"To be away from home, to live out of suitcases in hotels and travel by bus is something that takes any player out of his comfort zone and your normal routine," he told this website.

"To be taken out of your routine and still perform well is not something that happens overnight, it takes time to achieve.

"It is something the guys will have to learn, as they gain experience in the next few years of Super Rugby and hopefully we can get better the more we play Super Rugby."

Of course there is also a marked difference between rugby mad New Zealand and Australia, where rugby is not such a high-profile sport.

"The passion for rugby in New Zealand comes from the fact that thy don't really have to compete with other sporting codes, where as in Australia they compete with several other codes - like Rugby League, Australian Football League [Aussie Rules], Cricket, etc.

"In Australia you have time to do your own thing and enjoy the tour a bit more."

By Jan de Koning

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26