We have got to learn to keep the pressure on
The Kings took four log points and a few more valuable lessons from their dramatic victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.
A Demetri Catrakilis drop-goal in extra-time snatched a historic 30-27 win for the Eastern Cape franchise, but their coaching staff acknowledged that it had been far from a complete performance after they had let the Rebels back into the game.
It was the Kings' first win away from home, and maintains an unbeaten record against Australian sides this season after they beat the Force at home and drew with the Brumbies last week.
The visitors got off to a flying start with Ronald Cooke scoring the first try in the eighth minute, followed shortly afterwards with a brilliant individual try by scrumhalf Shaun Venter, but that lead was surrendered as they eased the pressure on the home side before a late fight back sealed the win.
Coach Matt Sexton was pleased with the composure his team showed to come back away from home, but admitted that they still have plenty of room for improvement.
“Of course we’re exceptionally happy with the four log points, and the overall result, but we battled in the middle of the game," he said.
The Rebels were able to hit back with two tries of their own, and took the lead for the first time just after half-time, which was particularly frustrating for Sexton after the positive start his team had made.
“The problem is that we perhaps had too much of a good start and the guys took their foot off the gas and relaxed a little, which allowed the momentum to sway in the Rebels favour.
“We have got to learn to keep the pressure on, but this is also a learning curve for us and this was another lesson learnt,” he said.
Director or Rugby, Alan Solomons, echoed Sexton’s assessment of the game, saying the players had had a much better second half.
“We lost momentum and eased off after the first ten minutes or so, and our exiting our own half was poor, we gave away too many penalties which meant we made work for ourselves,” he said.
Solomons said that while the team had not played particularly well, the win once again showed the determination and character of the squad.
“A win when you’re not playing well, that says a lot about the team,” he said.
Solomons said he had complete confidence in Catrakilis' ability to slot the crucial drop-goal as he has performed under intense pressure before.
“We knew Demetri could do it, he’s done it before at Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup level, and he has a wonderful temperament under pressure,” he said.
“Before this it was already a good tour, but the win has turned this into a fantastic tour,” he said.