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Solly relishing 'Test match' exit

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 22:09
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It is a question of fronting up for a second week in a row
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Alan Solomons is confident his parting shot in South Africa will be victorious, as the Southern Kings head into the Lions' den.

Solomons, who will check in for his new job as head coach of Scottish outfit Edinburgh next week, has dismissed the notion that he is abandoning a sinking ship.

The Lions take a seven-point advantage into this Saturday's decisive second encounter at Ellis Park, after a 26-19 win in Port Elizabeth last week. However, the Kings boss is adamant that his charges can beat the odds and retain their Super Rugby status at the expense of the team they replaced this year.

While the Kings required boardroom intervention to get in for 2013, they are determined to prove on the playing field they deserve a second shot.

Solomons has likened the Kings' promotion-relegation showdown with the Lions to games of Test-match intensity. But starting with a seven-point deficit obviously does make it a bigger hurdle.

"We are in the situation where we have to win the game by [at least] eight points and we know the task that lies ahead of us, but we are looking forward to it," Solomons told this website in an interview during his team's build-up for the Ellis Park encounter.

Having had a good look at the Lions last week, the Kings now know exactly how high they must raise the bar.

"They are two massive games and it is like playing [two] Test matches one after the other," the Kings Director of Rugby said, adding: "Almost like the [B&I] Lions playing the Wallabies on successive Saturdays.

"Obviously both sides will now have studied each other, but clearly having played a game you get to know your opponents a bit better.

"It is a question of fronting up for a second week in a row, because these are very tough matches."

The Kings also feel they managed to cope just fine in the physicality stakes and believe they will be up for whatever the Lions throw at them this week.

"These are one-off matches," Solomons told this website, adding: "To get up for one-off matches is very different to playing in a competition week-in-and-week-out."

The Kings boss said the players had no mental scars from their loss last week. "They are positive about it," he said of the challenge awaiting them in Johannesburg.

They have played against the Lions and know exactly what to expect. "It is one thing analysing as team, it is another playing against them.

"The players are really looking forward to Saturday."

By Jan de Koning

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