Port Elizabeth – Eastern Province Kings are hoping to prove their ability by wiping out a severe deficit when they host the Free State Cheetahs in the return leg of the Currie Cup promotion/relegation playoff in Port Elizabeth on Friday night.
The Kings’ director of rugby, Alan Solomons, said this week they remained confident of playing in the top-tier of the domestic competition next season.
“This is our opportunity to set the record straight and prove that we belong up there,” Solomons said.
“We made way too many mistakes in the first game and that enabled the Cheetahs to heap up the points.
“We also gave away too many penalties and turned over too much possession.”
Solomons said the Kings, who will play in the Super Rugby competition next season, expected the “same type of mentality” from the Cheetahs as they showed in their 53-14 victory in Bloemfontein last week.
“We know that they will want to overpower us, but we also know that we let our supporters down in the first round,” he said.
“We’ve worked hard during the week and hopefully we can produce the goods.”
The Cheetahs picked up a full haul of five points in the first leg and secured a bonus point in the process.
The Kings, left with a mountain to climb, must win the second leg by 40 points and prevent the visitors from scoring a bonus point if they are to qualify for the Currie Cup premier division.
The visitors, however, insisted in the build-up to the return fixture that they had no intention of letting their foot off the accelerator and would arrive in Port Elizabeth with the intention of scoring as many tries as possible.
“That is why we have selected winger Rayno Benjamin in the starting line-up,” said Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske.
“He looked very good on the attack in the first game and made a huge impact from the bench.
“The idea is to score as many tries as possible without throwing caution too much into the wind.”