While wary of the tough two Guinness PRO14 matches that await in Europe, Isuzu Southern Kings interim head coach, Robbi Kempson, is also excited about the new blood emerging from the Port Elizabeth-based side.
The team departed from South Africa late on Monday, arriving in Ireland on Tuesday before they square up against Irish side, Munster, and follow that up with an encounter against Welsh outfit, Scarlets.
In the touring party of 27 playing personnel are the fresh faces of loose-forward Luyolo Dapula and utility back Edmund Ludick who remain the only uncapped players on tour.
“Guys like Dapula and Ludick deserve their opportunities,” Kempson said.
“It’s great to see how Dapula has grown since he joined us [from the Cheetahs]. He works and trains exceptionally hard, and puts a lot of effort in. He is quite a combative individual, naturally. If he gets his opportunity, it will be good for him.
“It’s good that we can start bringing in the guys we believe are the future for the Kings. Dapula and Ludick are certainly some of those players.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings are on the back of a bye week which follows a fortnight of consecutive South African derbies against rivals, the Cheetahs. The side is happy to have had the short break ahead of the tough tour of Europe.
“It was perfect timing, really, after two back-to-back games against the Cheetahs. There were quite a few bumps and bruises, and one or two injuries, unfortunately,” Kempson explained.
The side is expecting another tough two weeks ahead against quality opposition.
“We have two very tough games on this tour. Munster, as you will know, is always very difficult. It will be a really tough one for us, but we are very keen to get stuck in,” said the interim head coach.
“We thought we missed an opportunity when we played them in South Africa. Perhaps we can make amends in Cork for what didn’t get right in Port Elizabeth.
“Scarlets will be a helluva tough one. Brad Mooar is an exceptional coach who has done an incredible job with the team, specifically when his players were away at the World Cup.
“They don’t have many weaknesses. And, certainly, the players that took the place of the guys that are currently in the Welsh squad have stepped up and can compete very comfortably at PRO14 level.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings will announce their match-23 squad to face Munster on Thursday. The match will kick-off at 21h35 on Friday, February 14, and will be televised on SuperSport 1.
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