Kings billboard

I frequently drive past this billboard, it always brings a smile.

By way of explanation, three of our domestic rivals are the Natal Sharks, Free State Cheetahs and Northern Transvaal Bulls 🙂

My Southern Kings played their final 2013 super rugby match yesterday and yes, you’ve guessed it, lost. But winning was not the purpose of our foray into super rugby this year.

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Kings v Stormers

My programme

Ja well, that’s our last home game done and dusted 😦

Our visitors The Stormers, that’s the classy Springbok filled outfit from Cape Town, hugely experienced and although perhaps playing slightly under par this season still tough opposition. The Stormers finished top of last years Super rugby log!

We were offered tickets for the Royalty Lounge at R150.00 each, (£10.00) that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a ticket to watch local rugby but, hey, it’s great there, right on the half way line, I like it and it was the final home game of our Super rugby season, so we splashed out!

We met at a local coffee shop at 11.30 for brunch and the Lions / Aussie match, what an entertaining couple of hours that turned out to be, then off to the stadium for our game (kick off 5pm)

We had high hopes of a result today, none of our 3 wins this season have been against an S.A. franchise and having only lost to the Stormers down in Cape town by 8 points our hopes were high.

We started well, 6 – 0 up after 15 minutes or so which quickly due to (more) ill discipline by my Kings quickly became 6- 6 all, we had a player sin-binned but were holding on. And then the dreaded score 2 minutes before half time, not for us, for them. The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, we got a couple of penalties, so did they and then a late try.

Our hopes were dashed, we lost (again) 12 – 24 Continue reading “Kings v Stormers”

Kings v Cheetahs

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After a much needed weekend off last week we were back at the stadium supporting our mighty Kings.

This weekend it was the turn off the Bloemfontein based Cheetahs to visit the shores of our bay. The Cheetahs are a strong outfit, with four or five Springboks on the team but their real strength lies in their squad.

They assembled a team of young players perhaps five years ago, these guys have played together, toured together, know each other well with the result that they are a really good team, no superstars but a good team.

They’re also presently fourth on the super rugby log, no mean feat that, there’s some tough opposition out there but after a stunning tour of Australia and New Zealand (3 wins in 4 matches) they’ve maintained the momentum and are having a good, no a great season.

I also think that our South African coaches study the opposition a lot more closely, the Cheetahs were able to nullify a lot of the tactics that I’ve been watching from my Kings this season (line out drives, rolling mauls, our tearaway loose trio, etc.)

So, how’d we do?

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Kings v Highlanders

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What a difference a week makes!

After last week’s humiliation at the hands of those Aussie Warratahs my Kings hosted the Highlanders this weekend, a team packed with All Blacks and boosted with the confidence of a victory just last week against the Sharks,  but more about that later.

Remember my “Super season tickets” post back in February? The one where I explained that a local bar had 2 ‘royalty package’ season tickets to hand out as prizes for all home game? Guess who won them this week? Ha ha I can hear you all laughing, of course it was me!

Now as you know,  I go to the games anyway, we always have great seats but these? These are special, plus the facilities which were still being constructed during my first visit (bar, restaurant, lounge, flat screen tv’s, big screen etc.) are now all in place. It really is a magnificent (royal (?)) way to watch rugby, or any sport for that matter.

So how did my Kings do this week?

Most here aren’t going to believe me but I assure you that I’m telling the truth we WON!

Not just any old win but a win with a bonus point for four tries. Continue reading “Kings v Highlanders”

Kings v Sharks

My programmeWho would have thought it?

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.

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A bridge too far

I’m sure that the hoards of avid rugby followers that read these pages will agree with me that the gap between the two tiers of S.A. Currie cup rugby is larger than we first thought.

Although the E.P.Kings went through the season undefeated, (2 draws) and rightfully earned their place in the promotion / relegation playoffs, (home and away) last nights hammering at the hands of the Free State Cheetahs brought us all down to earth with a bang.

Ironically on the left try scorer Andries Strauss has already signed for The Kings for next season.

The score? An overwhelming 53 -14 (8 tries -2) Match report here

Here’s hoping that we don’t have more of the same next year during our first Super Rugby campaign, sure we’ll have a few new signings to strengthen the squad but against full strength outfits from the Crusaders, Reds, Bulls, Sharks et al it could be a very long season!