Kings prepare to face Lions
Cape Town - Until last weekend's Super Rugby game against the Bulls, the Kings still had a mathematical possibility, however slim, of avoiding the dreaded promotion-relegation playoff with the Lions.
Now that Alan Solomons' team have been officially confirmed as the bottom-placed team in the Super Rugby conference
(currently 14th on the overall Super Rugby table at the time of writing), they will have to begin preparations to ensure they remain in the competition.
When one considers that many believed the Kings would embarrass themselves and fail to win a single game in Super Rugby, when the dust has settled they will look back on a fairly successful first season.
The Kings played attractive rugby during 2013 and gave a good account of themselves, battling bravely to some narrow losses, and wins over the Force, Rebels and Highlanders, as well as a combative draw against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The new franchise, however, will have to transform themselves from lovable losers to clinical challengers if they want to add to their first year of Super Rugby.
The Golden Lions got their preparation for re-entry into the 2014 Super Rugby competition underway in the 2013 Lions Challenge Series with wins over Russia, the Cheetahs, the Kings, Mont-de-Masan, WP, Sharks a thumping victory over Samoa as well as a narrow loss to the Bulls, despite the fact that they have had to make do without several players loaned out to other franchises.
In just under a month, the Kings will face the Lions in the first of a home and away series of promotion/relegation playoffs at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Friday, 26 July. (kick-off 19:00).
Lions results in 2013:
January 19: Lions 51-13 Russia
January 23: Lions 33-17 Cheetahs
February 2: Lions 33-38 Bulls
February 9: Lions 41-31 Kings
March 16: Lions 56-24 Mont de Marsan
June 1: Lions 74-14 Samoa
June 14: Lions 42-12 WP
June 21: Lions 33-29 SharksPromotion/ relegation fixtures:
July 26: Super Rugby promotion/relegation - Nelson Mandela Stadium - 19:10
August 2: Super Rugby promotion/relegation - Ellis Park - 19:10