Free State Cheetahs vs Sharks

Carlos now truly a King

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:04
Large carlos spencer

All Black Carlos Spencer has been tasked to guide the Eastern Province Kings in their return to the Currie Cup competition.

All Black Carlos Spencer has been tasked to guide the Eastern Province Kings in their return to the Currie Cup competition.

Spencer, who joined the Kings in December, has been appointed head coach for the Currie Cup season.

Speaking at a media briefing in Port Elizabeth EP Rugby CEO Charl Crous confirmed the appointment of the former New Zealand flyhalf.

Crous said Spencer, who played for the Blues and for New Zealand, was well known for his flamboyant, attacking play and ball handling skills and brought with him a wealth of experience.

"After the confirmation of the [Kings'] Currie Cup inclusion, there has been a lot of speculation about what we [the Kings] were going to do in terms of a coach. That is why we are pleased to announce that Carlos will be looking after Currie Cup team in 2014," Crous added.

The CEO said Spencer would be joined by Michael Horak on defence at the end of the Varsity Cup season, and would also be assisted by Robbie Kempson, who would work with the forwards.  

Spencer first rose to prominence when he starred alongside Christian Cullen in a Ranfurly Shield challenge in 1991, playing for the Horowhenua team against Auckland.

Auckland coach Graham Henry spotted Spencer's talent and recruited him to play for the Auckland team.

He played for the Blues Super 12 team from the inception of the competition in 1996 until 2005, and also played extensively for the Auckland NPC side.

In 2005 he signed to the English club Northampton Saints.

In 2010 Spencer signed for the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions, to play for the team in the 2010 and 2011 Super Rugby seasons.

He subsequently took up a coaching role with the team, before moving to the Durban-based Sharks for the 2013 season.

Spencer said this was his first time to hold a head coach position, but was excited at being given the opportunity.

"There are obviously challenges ahead, in terms of the head coach role, but I'm excited about it and looking forward to it and I feel I have the right people here to help me as well," he said.

Spencer said there was a lot of hard work that needed to be done, but the players were committed and willing to work hard.

With regards to sourcing additional players, Spencer said they were looking at which players were available.

"It's something we are still working on, obviously we do need certain players in certain areas, but it is something we are keeping close to our chest at the moment. Obviously we are working with the guys we do have, and right now our focus is on the guys we do have, and not the ones that we don't," he said.

Spencer described his coaching style as "very ambitious" and said that while he wanted the boys to have fun and enjoy themselves, he focused on hard work and instilling a good work ethic in his players.

"In terms of where we are in terms of our fitness at the moment, we're way off the pace. The next eight to 10 weeks that we have, we'll sit down and work with players on their fitness, their strength and explosive power," he said.

Spencer said he was excited to see the wealth of talent that the region was producing, and which had been showcased in the warm-up matches that had been played.

Looking forward, he said he was not expecting too much from this year's Currie Cup.

"This is a big step up for a lot of players. It's going to take a lot of work and I'm not expecting too much out of this first Currie Cup [season], I just want to see the team being competitive. If anything happens above that, it's a bonus.

"This is not a six-month process, it will take time, but we are excited at having the opportunity and we just need to make the most of it," he said.

Free State Cheetahs vs Sharks
sast: 14h00 | local: 16h00

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Team P W D L Pts
Golden Lions 9 9 0 0 43
Blue Bulls 10 8 0 2 39
Western Province 10 7 0 3 35
Free State Cheetahs 9 3 1 5 21
Sharks 9 4 0 5 19
Pumas 10 3 1 6 17
EP Kings 10 2 0 8 12
Griquas 9 1 0 8 8