Thu 7 Aug 2014 | 09:02
Kings keeping calm and collected
Thu 7 Aug 2014 | 09:02
Kings keeping calm and collectedSHARE
The Kings are not allowing the occasion of their return to the Currie Cup on Friday against Western Province to get the better of them.
Having last played for the Currie Cup in 2002, Eastern Province came last in their 'Y Section' Pool where all unions where represented.
This year, the excitement in Port Elizabeth and at the Kings training ground this week is palpable, but for coach Carlos Spencer and captain Luke Watson it has been about keeping the guys mentally composed.
"This week is about keeping the boys nice and relaxed, it is not about getting them too overworked,' coach Spencer said ahead of their match against Western Province on Friday.
"It is a big occasion and they realise that, but it is a matter of keeping calm and enjoying the week without putting too much pressure on them.
"This is a young side, for most of them it is their first Currie Cup, it is about enjoying the week and the guys around them."
For the captain, Luke Watson, he can recall his last outing in the Currie Cup – but he was in the Blue and White hoops of his upcoming opposition.
"My last game in the Currie Cup, I was playing for Western Province in a semifinal at Newlands against the Bulls," Watson said.
"They had just brought all their Springboks back but we were leading into the 78th minute with the prospect of a home final against the Cheetahs.
"They got a penalty on halfway and Morné Steyn, like he does, popped it over from halfway in the corner and sent us packing early."
Watson's last outing in the provincial showpiece might have ended in heart-break but the Kings captain still greatly reveres the Cup.
"The Currie Cup is a different mentality, a different style of game – a far more personal type of competition," he went on.
"Until someone has been a part of the Currie Cup you can't really understand the intensity and how personal it becomes.
"There is a lot about pride and ego in these games."
Speaking of the upcoming game and the opening of the competition, Spencer alluded to his teams style which clearly has bits of the old maestro's influence in it.
"We like to think that we can play an expansive game, but we must have the basics right first to be able to do that.
"The guys know that so it is important that our drivers take control of the game early on and play in the right part of the field.
"The basics are going to be very important especially as we try to get ourselves in the game early on."
Watson carried on to echo his coach about trying to keep the guys settled in the build-up.
"Our main focus and priority is Western Province on Friday," Watson added.
"The build up has been similar as to Super Rugby, but it is also a little different, we are a whole bunch of new faces and new management, it is a new competition but it is similar in the excitement.
"Almost in the mystery of what to expect and what to see is similar, there is a sort of electricity in the air and a slight underlying tension.
"The big focus this week has been creating an environment where the guys have enjoyed the build up and not necessarily putting too much pressure on themselves."
The EP Kings will be hosting a young, yet experienced, Western Province team in Port Elizabeth on Friday with a large crowd expect at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium as rugby returns to the rugby-loving region.