A visit to Irish side Connacht on 30 November will give the Southern Kings a chance to take what Robbi Kempson regards as their next step in the PRO14.
The Kings coach was rightly elated after a tense final few minutes of his team’s 16-14 win over the Ospreys in Swansea last weekend.
In a game played in inclement conditions, the Kings built up a 13-0 lead by half time, and hung on with desperate but impressive defence when the Ospreys forwards were dominant in the second half.
While Kempson praised his team and lauded them for the commitment showed in their gutsy win, what he would like to see now that they have picked up their first-ever away win in the competition, is for them to make an adjustment to their thinking when they do go into the lead.
‘I think a big learning from this game is that in future when we get a lead we must rather try and extend it as opposed to sitting back a bit,’ said Kempson. ‘I felt against the Ospreys that we were guilty of falling into the mindset of wanting to defend the lead once we were ahead.
‘That can be a mistake, and it nearly was against the Ospreys. But we had a young team playing for us and it will be a learning for them.’
The Kings have been ravaged by injuries in the pre-season and Kempson will be hoping that some of his walking wounded return to action before they head overseas again in the last week of November for the one-off clash with Connacht.
The Kings have yet to beat the Irish side in the competition, and have scored four tries and conceded eight in the two matches played against one another. Connacht secured a comfortable 31-14 win when they last met in Port Elizabeth a year ago.
Connacht themselves beat the Ospreys in Swansea quite recently, winning 20-10 just under a fortnight ago, but when the Kings’ South African rivals the Cheetahs visited The Sportsground the week before that, they were considered unlucky to lose by just two points [24-22].
So the Kings might see just an inkling of opportunity come month’s end to build on their solitary win of the season so far.
Although they did lose by 50 points to top team Glasgow Warriors in the second match of their three-game tour, they showed plenty of promise in their six-point defeat of Italian side Benetton in the opener.
Photo: Aled Llywelyn/Gallo Images