Rugby 9.9.2017 02:32 pm

Pro14 explainer: Kings have a chance to spring a surprise

The Kings need flyhalf Kurt Coleman to build on a promising performance last week. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images.

The Kings need flyhalf Kurt Coleman to build on a promising performance last week. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images.

Despite a heavy loss on their ‘debut’, Deon Davids’ troops can actually hope on a turnaround against Connacht. But who are they?

The irony about the Kings’ nasty 10-57 loss to Llanelli on their Pro14 debut is that they actually shouldn’t worry too much about it.

It was a match against the defending champions.

But that’s not the main reason why they should be cheery.

Instead, they should really target their meeting with Ireland’s Connacht as a game where they can spring a surprise.

And for that, you need confidence.

Here’s everything you need to know about the match.

When and where does this match kickoff?

On Saturday night at 20.35 at the Sportsground in Galway.

Who is Connacht?

Think of them as the Force (in Super Rugby) of Irish rugby.

Situated on the west coast, Connacht have a reputation of being the poorer cousin of Ireland’s three other provinces.

Traditionally the team has had a smaller player base than the rest, meaning they’ve generally been underperformers.

That said, the momentously won 2015/16’s Pro14 under New Zealander Pat Lam, surprising all and sundry.

What are Connacht’s prospects?

Since the heady days of mid-2016, the team has taken a step back.

They only finished eighth last season and collected a pretty substantial 29 less log points.

Connacht have a new coach in Kieran Keane, who’ll be keen to build on Lam’s legacy and comes with a good pedigree.

But depth remains a problem for them.

How are the Kings looking?

The Kings showed in Super Rugby this year that they’re a team who likes to play an attacking brand of rugby.

Yet it was noticeable that their results improved dramatically when they kept things a bit tighter.

That’s exactly what needs to happen this weekend for them to soar.

Connacht have developed a Lions-like brand where they don’t really aim to play with much balance.

And, given their rustiness, that could present the Kings with counterattacking opportunities … and hope of an unlikely but not unrealistic win.

Teams: 

Kings: Coyi Banda, Yaw Penxe, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, S’bura Sithole, Kurt Coleman, Godlen Masimla, Andisa Ntsila, Victor Sekekete, Khaya Majola, Dries van Schalkwyk, Jurie van Vuuren, Rossouw de Klerk, Mikey Willemse (c), Schalk Ferreira. Bench: Stephan Coetzee, Luvuyo Pupuma, Martin Dreyer/Entienne Swanepoel, Bobby de Wee, Siya Mdaka, Poerie van Rooyen, Oliver Zono, Jacques Nel.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, John Muldoon, Jarrad Butler, Sean O’Brien, James Cannon, Ultan Dillane, Finlay Bealham, Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley. Bench: Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

 

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