Schedule logjam to test Kings' depth

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 21:20
Large ep kings player on knees 800

REACTION: Eastern Province Kings coach Barend Pieterse believes that his team's depth will be put to the test in the next two weeks.

The Kings managed to get a losing bonus point after scoring five tries in their 35-49 defeat against the Bulls in Pretoria last Friday.

Pieterse said that the Kings' player resources will be tested in the coming weeks - with the team facing the challenge of potentially playing three games in seven days, starting with a clash against Western Province in Cape Town this coming Saturday.

"I think for us next week is vital," the Kings' coach said.

"We have a tough two weeks lying ahead.

"There is a chance that we might be playing three games in seven days, because of the first game that we lost," he added.

The Kings' opening round match - initially scheduled for August 5 -has been pencilled in for Wednesday, August 31, when they are set to face Griquas in Kimberley.

That is sandwiched between the encounter with WP in Cape Town this coming Saturday, August 27, and a trip to Bloemfontein on Saturday, September 3, when they face the Free State Cheetahs.

"We will have to go see where we can rest one or two players, because you can't expect all of this group to play three games in seven days," said Pieterse.

Pieterse added that the Kings will select players from the Eastern Province academy and development teams if they are required to do so.

"We still have a few good players back in Port Elizabeth," he said.

"At the moment depth is going to be a problem especially playing three games in seven days.

"However, there is always something we can do and unfortunately, we can't do anything about the games we play [three games in eight days] but there is something we can do to make sure we have enough players."

The Kings are a team that has been affected by off-field issues involving the finances of the professional arm of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

Their participation in this year's Currie Cup tournament was only confirmed a day before the start of the tournament.

They are still settling on their game plan and combinations after the majority of their Super Rugby players signed on for other teams  at the end of the Super Rugby season.

However, they will be pleased with their efforts especially the way in which they ran at the Bulls last Friday.

The Kings currently find themselves sitting in eighth place on the Currie Cup table with one point from two games - which includes defeats against the Bulls and the Boland Cavaliers.

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1