There will be no shortage of desire
Southern Kings captain Luke Watson says the desire and fighting spirit of his team will come to the fore when they take on the Highlanders in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Following their record 10-72 drubbing at the hands of the Waratahs last weekend, the Kings this week made a number of changes to their matchday squad for the weekend’s clash, Watson’s return at No.7 the most significant.
Watson was adamant that the newcomers experienced no self doubt after their heavy defeat and promised his team would deliver a much-improved performance against a Highlanders side coming off a 25-22 win over the Sharks in Dunedin.
“The guys’ commitment has been one of our strongest attributes this year and there’s no doubt within ourselves and within the coaching staff that we will bring that same level of commitment that has consistently been there this Saturday,” Watson said.
“As a team that’s at times the best we can offer. We don’t have the most experience, we don’t have international players from one to 15 but what we do have is 22 guys who wear their heart on their sleeve,” he added.
Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said fatigue contributed to the team’s poor showing against the Waratahs and believes the loss has fired up his charges to restore some lost pride.
“It’s like everything in life - we’ve put it behind us. You can’t go through life looking backwards so we’ve put it behind us, we have taken out of it lessons that we needed to and we’re looking forward to delivering a good performance this weekend,” said Solomons.
“Having had the game, we’ve got up now. We are going to cross that finish line on Saturday, we know that. The guys have freshened up and they’re determined and I have know doubt we will see a committed performance. There will be no shortage of desire.”
Solomons said the squad would receive a break after the match and would only return to training next Friday, with the Kings having a bye next weekend ahead of back-to-back matches prior to the June Test window.
He admitted that a lack of depth made the nine-week stretch of consecutive matches particularly taxing but said the Kings would be able to cope with the demands of Super Rugby for the remainder of the season.
“We can cope with it. The breaks we’ve now got will enable us to cope with it and the actions we will take during those breaks will see that the players are rested,” he said.