After a glorious victory against the Aussie Force two weeks ago (and a bye last week) our Super Kings hosted the first of the heavyweights last night. The Sharks were last year’s losing finalists, they are a side packed with current Springboks (we have not one) and we kept them tryless!
Our magnificent Nelson Mandela Bay stadium was a sell out, that’s 42,000 people packed in to savour a super rugby derby. Sure it’s been full once or twice before but that was during the FIFA world cup, no passion, no partisanship just an extravaganza (albeit a jolly good one) and of course our two rugby tests against England and the All Blacks, this was different, completely different!
If our first victory in the competition hasn’t made the opposition sit up and reconsider our ‘whipping boy’ tag then last night must have, our Kings were simply magnificent.
One report tells us “only 1 tackle missed out of 107” They defended like lions (not the Transvaal kind but the four legged ones with manes!) and on attack? Opportunities though few and far between were taken, so much so that with only 2 minutes to go we were in a bonus point winning position but fate dealt a cruel blow, we were robbed of that bonus point in the last minute of the game.
My most lasting memory? Watching our 18 year old flyer Sergeal Petersen running JP Pietersen ragged (JP has 45 ‘bok caps and 90 super rugby games under his belt.) Our Serge outran him, out jumped him, tackled him (JP’s almost twice Serge’s size.) pestered him and made him lose his cool. At one stage JP went running after our Serge and tried to thump him (conceding a penalty) but our boy Serge kept his composure, he’s a Springbok in the making.
Our Kings gave as good as they got, here they are winning a lineout right in front of me.
Did I mention that the stadium was full, here’s the Mexican wave making it’s way towards me for perhaps the fifth or sixth time, it was a carnival atmosphere, we lost, we don’t care, we’re proud to wake up as Kings this morning.
It doesn’t get any easier, it’s The Chiefs next week, (they’re the current holders of the Super rugby crown.)