Planet Rugby

Kings aim for consistency

08th August 2014 11:52


Luke Watson EP Kings

EP skipper: Luke Watson

The EP Kings will be aiming for a high level of consistency when they open their Currie Cup campaign against Western Province in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

That was the message from experienced Kings captain Luke Watson this week as the region contemplates a return to the top flight of the Currie Cup for the first time in 12 years.

"We must be consistent throughout the competition and not allow one or two negative results to compromise the entire campaign," Watson said this week.

"Our head coach Carlos Spencer has been good this week because it cannot become too much of an emotional thing. This is not a friendly against the Sharks and then a five-month break.

"You play Western Province, and then the Lions and then another big team and another one. So we have to create an environment where the guys are emotionally stable and mature, and producing consistent performances."

EP know they will be up against it because the WP side, despite missing several senior players, is littered with Springboks, plus talented and speedy backs such as Seabelo Senatla and Cheslin Kolbe.

WP will be led by Bok centre Juan de Jongh, who will be keen to make an impression after missing out on selection for the national Rugby Championship squad.

With players such as Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Taute and Tiaan Liebenberg backing him up, De Jongh leads a strong unit who will want to put a dampener on the Kings' return to the premier division.

The Kings are under no illusions as to what awaits them and Spencer said it would be crucial for them to do the basics well if they were to match the Cape outfit.

"We will really have to do the basics well and try to control the match by playing in the right parts of the field," Spencer said.

The Kings coach said the Currie Cup remained "a massive" competition in the context of South African rugby, but the plan this week had been to keep the players relaxed.

"This week was all about keeping relaxed," Spencer said.

"We know it is a big challenge, but we have aimed to enjoy the week without putting too much pressure on the players."

Watson assured the Kings fans that there would be no lack of commitment from his team.

"It is similar in some ways to our Super Rugby debut last year when there were new faces and new management, and it was a bit of a mystery what to expect," Watson said.

"But we will be looking for the guys to perform to the best of their ability and whatever happens, it won't be for a lack of commitment."

Reflecting on his squad, WP coach Allister Coetzee said Etzebeth would only be involved for part of the match while prop Frans Malherbe would come off the bench some time in the second half, injuries permitting.

In all, eight of the 22- man WP squad for the clash will be making their Currie Cup debuts against EP, although wings Kobus van Wyk and Senatla, lock Manuel Carizza, and prop Alistair Vermaak have played Super Rugby for the Stormers.

"Fortunately for us, Eben and Frans have been part of our pre-season training," Coetzee said.

"Eben would have played a Super Rugby match if he hadn't broken his toe in an accident at home.

"It's great to have them back for this game. This match will be to their benefit and also to the team's benefit as well."

  • Currie Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
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Recent Results
All times are local
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 13
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Friday , September 12
Eastern Province Kings 13 - 28 Blue BullsEastern Province Kings vs Blue Bulls Report
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs 17 - 31 PumasCheetahs vs Pumas Report
Sharks 18 - 21 GriquasSharks vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 36 - 26 LionsBlue Bulls vs Lions Report
Friday , September 5
Western Province 49 - 14 Eastern Province KingsWestern Province vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Saturday , August 30
Griquas 25 - 36 Cheetahs
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western Province
More Currie Cup results
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Overall 2014
Currie Cup Table
1Western Province523
3Golden Lions515
5Blue Bulls613