When Australia’s Super Rugby teams heard news of the 2018 competition changes, they were at home, in the eye of the storm.
For the under siege Kings, things were different.
The South African side, in just its second season back in Super Rugby and with just four wins across those seasons, was 8000 kilometres away from home, as the rumours swirled.
Still, they pushed the Force to a five-point try fest in Perth, turned on the afterburners in Brisbane and then on Friday night, they got their Australian scalp in Sydney.
Captain Lionel Cronje said post-match the past three weeks had been a rollercoaster.
“It’s definitely been an emotional three weeks for us, to get the news while we were on tour,” he said.
“It’s really put pressure not only on our coach and not only on the players and the administrators, but pressure on our families.”
The only other win the Kings had to this point this season was over the Sunwolves in Singapore, but Cronje warned this would not be their last.
“For us to show the character of these great men in this team, to be able to stand up in adversity and come through strong like we did today, it’s only going to be an upward curve,” he said.
“This isn’t going to be our last win, we’re going to win plenty more games before the end of this competition, I can guarantee that.
“It’s a true testament to the character of the team and the way that these men have stood up to these challenges.”
Coach Deon Davids said there was no secret motivation technique to get the galvanisation they’ve shown in recent times, rather just improvement.
“It wasn’t an issue of me motivating them too much to do their best, it’s just as individuals they want to grow, they want to be better and that makes a huge difference,” he said.
It had been reported that the axed South African teams would be potentially added to the Pro12 competition that includes Scottish and Irish sides but Davids said it wasn’t something he’d considered.
“To be honest with you I haven’t focused much on what’s been written in the newspapers. I think that would be the wrong thing to do now,” he said.
“My job together with the players is just to ensure that we put up a good performance and that we show from our side that we are willing and able to perform at this level and that will stay our focus throughout this competition.”
The Kings go back home to face a fourth consecutive Australian side, the Rebels, next weekend.