All hail the Kings

The Kings scored an historic Super Rugby victory in their tournament debut in Port Elizabeth.

The Kings won 22-10 in front of a crowd exceeding 30 000 against Australia’s Western Force.

What a magnificent achievement. What a wonderful night for rugby in the Southern and Eastern Cape. What a night to remember.

South Africans be proud of a team that played for themselves, their region and their country.

Hopefully now the hatred with subside.

Luke Watson, a former Grey High captain, led out the Kings and proved inspirational in the opening 30 minutes before an accidental elbow to his larynx ended his evening. His replacement Jacques Englebrecht was as imposing as every Kings player stood tall in defence to turn a 10-5 deficit into a 11-10 lead and ultimately victory.

The Kings players with Super Rugby experience like hooker Bandise Maku, lock Steven Sykes and midfielders Andries Strauss and Ronnie Cooke were outstanding but it was a local teenager, winger Sergeal Petersen, who stole the hearts with a brace of tries to be named man of the match.

Petersen was in school at Grey High just three months ago and what made the night even more monumental was the first try should go to local lad from the region’s greatest rugby institution and that the player of the night should be a product of Grey High.

Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons deserves every accolade, as does coach Matt Sexton.

‘It was an incredible defensive effort,’ said Solomons. ‘We turned over a lot of ball and made a lot of mistakes but they will learn at this level. But their commitment can’t be faulted. It was a huge effort.’

Kings stand in captain Andries Strauss said the players were always confident they were good enough to win.

‘We will enjoy the night, but we are a grounded unit and we know it just gets tougher with each match.’

The Kings were given no price and no chance and done no favours.

The Kings lead the South African Conference after week one and that alone is a screen shot that makes this year among the most historic in South Africa’s Super Rugby history.

The Kings were everything but an embarrassment. They were an inspiration and they deserve every bit of applause for what was achieved in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.

No new team in the competition has ever won in their first match. That bit of history belongs to the Kings.

By Mark Keohane