Kings need a major 'mind-shift'

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 09:42
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Southern Kings stand-in coach Robbie Kempson feels his charges require a major "mind-shift" or they won't convert close defeats into victories.

Southern Kings stand-in coach Robbie Kempson feels his charges require a major "mind-shift" or they won't convert close defeats into victories.

The Kings have been "competitive" in back-to-back outings against Super Rugby franchises - losing 21-36 to the Cheetahs last week, before running the Lions even closer (a 12-19 loss) this past weekend.

Kempson, who is filling in the gap in the wake of the departure by Alan Solomons (to Edinburgh) and Matt Sexton (returned to New Zealand), said he did not think his team's performance against a lethargic-looking Lions team was particularly good.

He spoke of his team's slow start and shocking form in the line-outs, while some clarity in terms of the maul law was also required.

Despite all the negatives, Kempson felt it is a victory his team let slip through their fingers.

"This is a game we could have won, no doubt, and we are disappointed," the Kings mentor said.

"Perhaps our perceptions need to start changing," he said, adding: "In my opinion last year we went into games where we did not think we could beat the opposition.

"I have said to the players they can get that out of their minds.

"We can be competitive at a very high level, as this game showed, but we missed opportunities unfortunately."

Apart from the problems in the line-outs and mauls, Kempson said his team's kicking game went from the "sublime to the ridiculous".

"I was singing the praises of [flyhalf] George [Whitehead] last week, but he did not have a good game this time round," the coach said.

"It was there for everyone to see - his kicking out of hand wasn't great and he made quite a few errors in regards to his decision-making.

"We didn't help him by not giving him a platform from which to launch off, particularly in the line-outs."

He described his team's line-outs as "terrible", but felt the scrums went very well.

"Definitely the line-outs are a major problem," he said, adding: "I wanted to clarify the law about the maul - if it detaches it is truck-and-trailer and twice it wasn't blown - particularly for that try.

"However, those things happen in rugby. Our stopping of the maul was better than last week [against the Cheetahs], so we are taking strides forward."

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