While the Isuzu Southern Kings were left devastated after their injury-time Guinness PRO14 defeat to the Toyota Cheetahs in the South African derby last Friday, Edinburgh had their tails up after they reached the last eight of the European competition, the European Rugby Champions Cup, on the same night.
It was celebrations all round for the Scottish side when they defeated French outfit, Montpellier, 19-10 as Edinburgh made history by earning their first ever last eight spot in the Champions Cup, while also enjoying a good run in the Guinness PRO14.
Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill has had a massive influence in the progression of the Scottish side since the former England international took up the coaching reins from the 2017/18 season.
With his birthplace being the Warwickshire market town of Rugby, it was almost inevitable that Cockerill would leave his mark in the game of rugby.
The Isuzu Southern Kings are well aware of the dangers posed by the Cockerill-coached Edinburgh team when they square up at the Nelson Mandela University’s Madibaz Stadium on Saturday, January 26, for their Guinness PRO14 Round 14 encounter. After all, the Port Elizabeth-based side was handed a heavy 38-0 defeat by the Scots in their first meeting of the 2018/19 season on January 5.
Deon Davids, Isuzu Southern Kings Head Coach, has already warned his charges of what to expect when they face Edinburgh for the second time this season.
“They are such a dangerous side,” Davids admits.
“We know that they will be equally dangerous this week as they were when we faced them at Murrayfield earlier in the month. They are a side that is strong in depth, and they have quality in their forwards and strong finishers in the backline. We are hopeful that we will not see a repeat of what happened when we lost 38-0 last time around.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings head honcho and his coaching team have been working hard this week to ensure that his charges are in good nick for Saturday’s match.
“The big emphasis for us will be to get our set pieces right,” revealed Davids.
“We have to get our scrums right, we have to get quality lineout ball – that will be important for us. We are going to have to sharpen up on our attack. I also felt that our game management [against the Cheetahs] there were times when we could have been in better positions when we had ball possession.
“We are working really hard to look at ourselves to improve going forward. We know the threat that they (Edinburgh) will pose. They are a quality side, who play at a high intensity.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings have been joined by former Lions flyhalf, Bader Pretorius, who will be with the side on trial for the next week.
However, the side have been dealt yet another injury blow following the Cheetahs encounter last weekend as prop, Rossouw de Klerk suffered a shoulder injury. The 29-year-old will be undergoing scans to ascertain the extent of his injury.
Davids will name his match-day squad of 23 to play Edinburgh on Friday.
Tickets for the match are available at all TicketPro outlets and will also be available at the Madibaz Stadium gates on match day for only R20.