Kings not fazed by axing
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: The Southern Kings continued making history in their breakthrough Super Rugby season, with a 31-30 victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Kings' recent win was their second victory against a South African Super Rugby side - the other victory was over fellow South African side the Sharks in May 2017.
"It is a fantastic feeling. Just want to congratulate the team for this. The guys worked hard for this" Kings head coach Deon Davids told reporters.
The Kings' had a remarkable 2017 campaign which includes victories over the Waratahs (Sydney), Jaguares (Buenos Aires), Bulls (Pretoria), and Sunwolves (Singapore), while at home at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth they have knocked over the Melbourne Rebels and the Sharks, respectively.
Sadly, their Super Rugby chapter is slowly coming to an end after SARU's announcement on Friday that both the Kings and the Cheetahs have been axed from the 2018 Super Rugby tournament.
Fittingly, the Kings and the Cheetahs will face each other in what looks for now to be both teams final Super Rugby appearance, when the Kings host the Cheetahs at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth next weekend.
"[Being axed from the Super Rugby competition] is a bit of a disappointment. However, we never spoke of that, we entirely focused on the task at hand.
"As players and coaches, we learned a lot. We enjoy being together and the players enjoy the team's culture and looking forward to doing our best next week" he added.
Davids is adamant that his team will exit Super Rugby as more than just a team, having inspired future generations of rugby players with their teamwork and attitude on and off the field.
"I said to [the players], if you in the situation that we are now, this will be the last Southern Kings team that ever played a Super Rugby game and if people look back at this team, they will look back at the individuals in terms of the skills that they exhibited, the passion, the pride, the heart, the soul that they’ve showcased and the fact that irrespective of what happened in life if your dreams are strong and you put in the proper hard work.
"You do things for the right reasons and you understand that you are here to serve and you are not here on your own, you here to give your all.
"If you can carry those values into a society or into a team and people gain inspiration out of that then that is the legacy that you want to leave," Davids explained.
Captain and flyhalf Lionel Cronje echoed his coach’s sentiments on the passion and team spirit which has become a trademark of the Kings throughout the Super Rugby campaign.
"Like coach [Deon Davids] said it’s just guys that have really embraced the opportunity. We just really wanted to win games, play for each other and be passionate about what we do and enjoy what we do," said Cronje.
The skipper further shared his views on SARU's decision.
"There is no point in worrying about external factors that you have no control over. It is what is is... we can only look forward. We can't be negative about it, we have to be positive about.
"Whatever competition we found ourselves in we just have to do out best," he added.
By Josh Isaacson