Kings exit with heads held high

13 July 2017 - 07:57 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Coach Franco Smith. File photo
Coach Franco Smith. File photo

In a perfect world, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs should have been gifted the prime time 5pm kick-off slot on Saturday to mark their Super Rugby farewell.

However, they will have to make do with the dreaded 7pm Friday night start at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

But the Kings, more than the Cheetahs, embraced their extinction and used it as a platform to embarrass six teams this season.

Winning six of their 14 matches, the Kings outdid themselves compared to the Cheetahs, whose three wins from the same number of matches exemplified their struggles.

Despite coach Franco Smith's claims that the Cheetahs got better as the Super Rugby season progressed, the results tell another story.

In truth, the Cheetahs, with their superior resources and training facilities, were disappointing.

They seemed to let their Super Rugby exit get to them.

The Free State side's nine-match midseason losing streak epitomised that and some of their capitulations against the New Zealand sides were abject.

Against the Chiefs and the Highlanders at home the Cheetahs squandered significant leads before the Crusaders, Blues and Hurricanes wiped the floor with them.

It has to be said, though, that the Southern Kings were in the same boat with next to no preparation last season, but still tried to fight against their New Zealand counterparts.