Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Franco Smith had kind words for the Southern Kings following the teams’ PRO14 encounter in Port Elizabeth last Friday.
The Cheetahs were made to work hard by their hosts and it was only an 86th-minute injury time try that saw the men from Bloemfontein claim a 24-17 victory.
The Kings have won only one out of 12 games in the 2018/19 PRO14 season, but Smith said they should not lose hope.
"I have coached in South Africa for a long time and I am a South African myself so I will never turn my back on a South African team. We knew it would be tough here in Port Elizabeth," Smith told the HeraldLIVE website.
Smith added that not too much should be read into the 11 losses the Kings have suffered thus far.
"The Kings are a proud team. You will see this team grow given their commitment. Despite a lot of losses they fight and want to win to end and never give up. I think Kings head coach Deon Davids and his staff can be proud of that."
The result saw the Cheetahs maintain their perfect record against the Kings in the PRO14, having also won the previous three fixtures.
The Cheetahs are currently sixth in Conference A, with four wins from 12 matches, while the Kings are at the bottom of Conference B.
The Cheetahs' next encounter is against is against Italian side Zebre in Bloemfontein on Saturday (15:00 kick-off), while later the same day the Kings host Scottish outfit Edinburgh (17:15 kick-off).