Cape Town – Kings vice-captain Andries Strauss says they are eager to prove their worth against a Sharks team laden with Springboks this weekend.
The Kings started with a surprise 22-10 win over the Force in their first Super Rugby outing but know full well they’ll face a difference challenge in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.
However, Strauss, who turned 29 on Tuesday, said the team will be looking to up their intensity levels against their coastal rivals.
â€œAs a team we have set ourselves goals, and winning one game doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ve really achieved anything yet… There is a big onus on us to improve on that and if we want to win more games in this competition then we are going to have to improve on that.
â€œThere is no better way than to take on a side with fifteen Springboks and showing the world once again that we can play this game,â€? he said.
Watson was injured in the win over the Force when he suffered a blow to the throat which caused extensive inflammation.
Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons said the loose forward’s spot on the bench would be evaluated later in the week after a final fitness test.
“We are hoping Luke will be alright to take his place this weekend, but we will assess his position later,” Solomons said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, head coach Matt Sexton said they were expecting the game to be quite physical, with the Sharks most likely to be looking at wearing down the Kings scrum.
â€œWe will definitely be looking at improving our level of ball retention. If you consider that during the Western Force game we made in excess of a hundred tackles in the first half of the game, which, if you have to take those sort of statistics into every game, sooner or later youâ€™re going to run out of petrol, so we want to make sure we retrieve the ball and hold onto it,â€? he said.
Former Sharks player, Steven Sykes, who also takes to the field in his second game for the Kings, said he was looking forward to playing against his former team-mates.
â€œI think the people will treat us with a bit more respect than what they had before the season. I think we did very well in the first game that we played and we showed that we are here and we are here to stay. I donâ€™t think people will send their second string sides down to us, so itâ€™s a nice challenge for us as well.â€?
Sykes said he was also looking forward to playing to a full house at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
â€œThe atmosphere at the game against the Force was amazing, probably the best Iâ€™ve experienced, and I am hoping that everyone will come out and support us again as we take on the Sharks,â€? he said.
Kick-off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is at 19:10 on Saturday.
15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Steven Sykes 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Kevin Buys , 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira