The Isuzu Southern Kings returned home from their first Guinness PRO14 tour of the 2019/20 season in good spirits this week, with a two-week bye ahead of their next fixture.
It was the first time in the three seasons the side has been part of PRO14 Rugby that the Kings returned to Port Elizabeth from a tour on the back of a confidence-boosting win.
Last Saturday a spirited performance in treacherous weather conditions saw the side emerge as 14-16 victors over Irish side, Ospreys.
Howard Mnisi, the first Isuzu Southern Kings captain to lead the side to a win on European soil, reflected on the historic feat.
“I was quite honoured to lead the team for the first time, and the boys really turned up,” Mnisi said.
It was the first time the reputable midfielder led the team in the absence of JC Astle and Lusanda Badiyana, the men who have captained the side for most part of the 2019/20 season.
The victory had been a long time coming, with the Kings having come close to earning overseas wins on previous occasions. However, the side had to wait until Saturday, November 9, to tick the elusive box.
Mnisi credits the historic win to a concerted team effort and faultless execution of the game plan the side had worked on in the build up to their last of three matches on the tour.
“The plan that we had during the week in the lead up to the game, I thought we executed pretty well, especially in the beginning of the game,” said Mnisi.
“We got an early lead which gave us a bit of a buffer. Yes, it was not perfect, it was not an entirely clinical performance, but it is definitely something that we can build on.
“It was an amazing experience to get our first win overseas. We were quite stoked with the result, more especially with the boys who put up their hands.
“Defensively we were quite good. We leaked a few tries, but that tends to happen overseas. Hopefully with this last game we gained some experience, and some of the younger guys now know what it feels like to win a game overseas.
Mnisi further stressed the importance of now putting the focus on the win behind them and beginning to focus on the upcoming fixture against Connacht in Ireland on November 30.
“We will still keep our feet on the ground and we are willing to continue to learn,” he said.
“The whole point of us continuing doing what we do is to improve our game, to improve every day – it’s a process. Everything that we did last week, we have to go back and review the game and decide how we want to go into the next game when we play Connacht in Ireland.
“It was definitely a great experience, and we will use this win to carry a bit of confidence going into the next game, as well as fixing all the mistakes we made and we will try to improve.”
Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!
General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.
Read more at https://www.pro14rugby.org