Kings coach plans shake-up as he runs out of patience

Robbie Kempson (Gallo)
Robbie Kempson (Gallo)

Cape Town - Southern Kings coach Robbie Kempson is preparing to shake up his selection for Sunday’s PRO14 Rugby clash with Irish province Connacht in Port Elizabeth as he runs out of patience with players he feels keep making the same mistakes.

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“You can’t keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results, so I will be mixing up the team substantially for the Connacht game,” says Kempson.

“I have no doubt that it is now time to be giving other players an opportunity to see what they can do. These guys, the guys who have played so far, have had theirs. What is that old saying about insanity? The first sign of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

The Kings appeared to be on an upward trajectory with their performances when they broke their overseas duck by beating the Ospreys in Swansea in November, but after a good performance against the Cheetahs in their home derby, a game they were unlucky to lose, they have been well beaten in three successive matches.

There was a slight improvement against Scarlets in Wales last weekend, but the same mistakes cropped up later in the game and what had been shaping up as a good contest ended up being an easy win for the hosts. Before that they lost the away derby against the Cheetahs heavily and were thrashed by Munster.

Kempson said the last two games, both played overseas, had made the penny drop with regards to the direction the coaches should be taking the team.

“The guys have all been given enough opportunity to stake a claim for starting berths. In the Munster game definitely and in the back end of the Scarlets game they gave us an idea of where we need to go forward with our game,” said the former Springbok prop.

“There have been increments of positives, particularly in the Scarlets game, but there were also too many obvious negatives. Against the Scarlets we were in the game until the 62nd minute, but then we made mistakes that turned the tide against us. The back end of the game is the most important part to fix.

“There is an element of conditioning but we always seem to be in the game until we need to make changes in certain positions. That is when it becomes slightly difficult. We have spoken about it. Against the Cheetahs we tried to play experienced guys off the bench but that didn’t work either. So other players will get opportunities and hopefully they take them.”

For once the Kings don’t appear to have a slew of injuries to deal with ahead of the Connacht game. No8 Elrigh Louw, who is unlikely to be one of the players Kempson is unhappy with as he has shown a lot of promise, sustained what the coach described as a vicious cut to the eye last time out but he is expected to be available.

Courtney Winnaar, who played fullback against the Scarlets and kicked a long range first half penalty, has been ruled out with a bad ankle sprain. He is due to undergo a scan. The Kings have a ready made replacement for him in Masixole Banda, who is back in the selection mix after missing out the last few games due to personal reasons.

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