These Kings have real heart
These Kings have real heartSHARE
Southern Kings coach Matt Sexton praised his team for the heart and character they showed in coming from behind to secure a draw against the table-topping Brumbies.
In the end the Kings scored a moral victory in the 28-all scoreline, as they took three points away from the game – two for the draw and a four-try bonus point, having outscored the home side by four tries to two.
The Kings, who were down 14-19 at half-time, produced a gutsy 80-minute effort against one of the tournament's form teams.
"We're really happy with the three points," an obviously delighted Sexton said.
"We went out there to match their physicality and make sure that we stop their momentum, because they're a very dangerous side and we did that – we ticked those boxes well and truly," beamed Sexton.
The coach said he was very impressed by the character shown by the side and their ability to play 80 minutes.
Commenting on the fact that the Kings were able to secure a draw with just 37 percent possession in the game, and being one man down for 10 minutes near the end of the second half – after Schalk Ferreira was given a yellow card in the 67th minute – Sexton attributed it to the achievement to the heart of the team, their defence and conditioning.
"It's a massive testament to what the conditioning staff have done over the off season," he said.
"The strain you get put under when you're a man down at that late stage, and the guys were still fine.
"They're a fit side and they have worked really hard over the off season to get that done, then coupled with some massive defence," he added.
Asked about Ferreira's yellow card, Sexton said he had not had a chance to review the footage up close yet, and could therefore not comment on the issue.
"There were a few silly mistakes that caused turnovers and a few bits and pieces.
"I don't really think we got the rub of the green for a couple of decisions, which was a bit disappointing, but that's the way it is," he said.
Sexton also praised the work done by Siviwe Soyizwapi, who flew over to join the team in Australia earlier this week, after Hadleigh Parkes broke his arm against the Hurricanes last weekend.
Soyizwapi was originally on the bench, after Elric van Vuuren sprained his ankle during the captain's run on Friday, but he was promoted to start at fullback after concerns around Demetri Catrakilis' knee during the warm up saw him move to bench at and George Whitehead start at to No.10.
"We had some late changes to things and Shakes [Soyizwapi came on and played admirably," Sexton said.
"He was fresh of the plane for us this week so he hasn't had time to really find his feet, but despite that he played really well," he said.
Sexton said Soyizwapi, along with Sergeal Petersen and Rynier Bernardo, who had all come through the Kings Academy, were true testament to the local talent in the province.
He also commended Wimpie van der Walt, whose performance on the field secured him the title of Man of the Match.
"Wimpie had a huge game he inserted himself into a lot of mid sections of Brumbies players tonight and they will all be going off licking their wounds," he said.
Southern Kings Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons said he was extremely proud of the team and what they had accomplished.
"The thing about us is that we're not a team of stars, we're a star team," he said.
"The identity of the team is character, courage and commitment and that has been built on the back of a potent conditioning and potent defence. The cornerstone of our game is our conditioning and defence," he said.
Solomons said all credit had to go to the players, who had put on an incredible performance, despite a few mistakes.
"We made mistakes, our discipline was poor and gave away too many key penalties, one of which resulted in a try. Our kick execution from exiting our own half was poor between our tryline and 10m line, and catching the half way kickoffs was poor, which put us under a lot of stress," he said.
Looking forward to the Rebels game next weekend in Melbourne, Solomons said they were thankful for the eight day turn around, and would not be underestimating the Rebels.
He said the team was travelling to Melbourne on Saturday and would then do a bit of recovery and review of the game, before getting a much needed Sunday off.
"Then we can really get stuck in and have a full week to prepare for the Rebels, we are certainly not taking them for granted. They are a desperate side that is desperate to get their competition back on track and we know it is going to be a tough game," he said.