PRO14

Leinster coach backs Kings to come good

2017-09-18 18:41
Deon Davids (Getty)

Cape Town - This past Saturday's PRO14 clash between the Kings and Leinster in Port Elizabeth was underwhelming, to say the least. 

Just 3000 people turned up for a match that was billed as "historic". 

It was the first time that a South African side had hosted a PRO14 match, but the turnout did not inspire much confidence that the country was ready to buy in to the new-look competition. 

The Kings were outplayed on their way to a 31-10 defeat for their third straight loss of the season, but the crowd figure at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was most worrying. 

It must have been a unique experience for the traveling Irish side to play in a massive stadium with barely a soul present, but Leinster backline coach Girvan Dempsey said that it did not impact on his charges at all.

"The bigger shock was the intensity the Kings brought," he said in Cape Town on Monday.

"We knew that they were going to be up for it in terms of it being their home game, but how they went after us early on ... they really attacked our ball pretty hard.

"It's an incredible stadium. We spoke to their coaches and had a real good chat to them afterwards and they faced numerous challenges in trying to organise everything and get everything set up in such a short space of time."

After a tough start to the competition having had to put together a brand new squad and management team, Dempsey is backing the Kings to come good. 

"I think they're going to gel and they're only going to get better," he said.

"Their squad is going to grow ... the coaches were talking about recruiting post-Currie Cup. The core group of players are competitive and you saw that in the first half.

"They're certainly going to cause a lot of teams in the PRO14 problems at home."

Leinster are in Cape Town for a couple of days before they head to Bloemfontein to take on the Cheetahs this weekend. 

Coach Rory Duncan's men recorded their first win of the season on Saturday when they beat Italy's Zebre 54-39. 

"We know it's going to be a massive challenge against the Cheetahs," said Dempsey.

"They do play at pace and you just have to look at the game against Zebre last weekend at the pace they have and the tempo they like to bring."

Read more on:    kings  |  leinster  |  pro14  |  girvan dempsey  |  port elizabeth  |  rugby
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