Luke Watson inspired the Kings to a record-breaking 34-27 Super Rugby win against the Highlanders in Port Elizabeth.
Watson scored two tries in the bonus point win that makes the Kings the most successful Super Rugby franchise in its debut season since the tournament expanded.
The Kings have won three matches and drawn one. The Port Elizabeth-based franchise now has a week’s bye.
It was an incredible comeback after last weekend’s 72-10 thumping against the Waratahs.
Loose-forward Cornell du Preez was named man of the match but this was a match won by a match squad and not because of individual heroics.
The Kings led 34-17 with 15 minutes to go and had to dig deep to withstand the Highlanders late charge. The visitors scored two tries in the last 10 minutes but flyhalf Colin Slade missed both conversions and a penalty to give the Kings the comfort of defending seven points in the last two minutes.
The Highlanders, who won for the first time last weekend against the Sharks, remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
The Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons described the win as unbelievable and commended his coaching staff on getting the squad in the right mental frame after last week’s defeat.
Solomons said the bye could not have come quicker for his team after 10 successive matches that included a four-match overseas tour.
‘This was a fantastic win but the boys are tired and in need of a rest,’ said Solomons.
Watson paid tribute to the crowd who showed faith and continued the support despite the 62 point defeat of the weekend.
‘Every guy gave everything but the crowd certainly played their part,’ said Watson.
The Highlanders, who have misfired all season, took two bonus points from the match.
Kings – Tries: Luke Watson (2), Cornell du Preez, Shaun Venter. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (4). Penalties: Catrakilis (2).
Highlanders – Tries: Colin Slade. Brad Thorn, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear. Conversions: Slade (2). Penalty: Slade.