Kings want to finish Super Rugby in style
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Southern Kings have an emotional week ahead of them as they build-up to their final appearance in a Super Rugby tournament with a clash against the Cheetahs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The Kings return home for the first time since losing 10-19 to the Brumbies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in May.
However, since the Round 13 defeat against the Brumbies the Kings have been on a fine run of form, winning two out of three games played on the road and picking up back to back victories over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and the Bulls in Pretoria with their only defeat coming against the Lions in a Round 14 clash.
The Kings have already made the 2017 Super Rugby season into their most successful season yet, making history with a first and second ever win against South African opposition and collecting 27 points from 14 matches played, which includes six wins and eight defeats.
The Kings only managed to collect 24 points from 18 matches played in their debut season in Super Rugby back in 2013 and their record in that year included three wins, three draws and 12 defeats.
After losing a promotion/relegation match against the Lions in 2013, the Kings were dealt a massive blow as they were forced to sit out the 2014 and 2015 Super Rugby seasons.
However, the Kings were welcomed back into Super Rugby when the competition was expanded to 18 teams in 2016 and during the 2016 Super Rugby season the Kings only managed to collect nine points from 15 matches played which included two wins and 13 defeats.
The Kings have come a long way since they made their debut in Super Rugby and ahead of their final game in the tournament, Kings head coach Deon Davids spoke of the need to use the opportunity to thank all the supporters for their passion and loyalty shown to the team throughout the tournament.
"[We are] going to play our last game in the Eastern Cape and we would really like to use the opportunity to say thank you to all our supporters and the people that made it special for us this year," Davids told reporters.
Davids added that the Kings would not have been able to achieve their historic results during the 2017 Super Rugby season without all the support which has been shown for the team.
"There was a time when we started to play well and the people just responded by running a campaign supporting us - that made a huge difference on tour.
"At the start of the season we set goals where we said we want a win over a South African side, we want to get the people back in the stadium and we've exceeded all of that. To see those happy faces and steer a franchise of happy people and inspiring youngsters feeling good about themselves and having something to strive for, it's that special moments that is more than the score on the scoreboard at the end of the day," explained Davids.
By Josh Isaacson