The Southern Kings will use their final Super Rugby home game of the season as a strong source of motivation to register their first win over a South African franchise when they play the Stormers in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
While the Kings have impressed many pundits with a series of courageous performances this season, they have not yet managed to win an SA derby and they have two matches in which to do that – against the Stormers and the Sharks.
The Stormers, despite the quality of their side, perhaps represent the Kings’ best chance to achieve that, although home team skipper Andries Strauss said they understood the challenge they faced.
“The Stormers are one of the best defensive sides in the competition and they are playing well,” Strauss said this week.
“They have a lot of game-breakers so it will be a big challenge for us.
“But we definitely want to get the pride back. The guys are hurting and they are keen to right those wrongs from the game against the Bulls.
“This is our final Super Rugby game this season in front of our home crowd and we are really keen to finish well.”
The Kings ran the Stormers close in their clash at Newlands earlier this year, but that match was played in difficult, wet conditions, and Strauss said it would be a different ball-game in Port Elizabeth.
While it has been confirmed the Kings will meet the Lions in Super Rugby promotion-relegation matches, Strauss said they were focussed only on this weekend’s game.
“Nobody has been talking about the promotion-relegation games,” he said.
“The players are focussed only on the next game and it will be a key factor for us not to play those promotion-relegation games in our minds before they arrive.”
Meanwhile, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was determined not to underestimate the opposition.
“The Kings have one of the best mauls in the competition and a flyhalf like Demetri Catrakilis and his accurate kicking means discipline will be extremely important for us,” Coetzee said.
“We are preparing mentally for a massive onslaught and we need to get our game-plan right to cope with the Kings.”