Pro 14: Connacht vs Southern Kings Preview

Our rugby scribe previews the second round Pro 14 clash between Connacht and the Southern Kings kicking off  Saturday the 9th of September.

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The 2015-16 champions will host the Southern Kings for the first time ever when the sides take to the field this Saturday. Both teams come off the back of Round-1 losses to the Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets respectively, both will be looking to kickstart their campaigns at the Galway Sportsground this weekend.

Connacht v Southern Kings | 9 September 20h35 | Galway Sportsground

To Win (80 Mins)
Connacht 1/10 | Draw 30/1 | Southern Kings 13/2 * Please note expected Odds

Connacht haven’t exactly pushed on from their title triumph in 2016, the 2016-17 season saw the Irish province win just nine of their 22-games, eventually finishing in eighth – a massive 25-log points off of the qualifying positions. Nevertheless, Kiwi coach Kieran Keane will offer zero excuses for his side’s recent failings and will again look to encourage his squad of no-name brands to punch above their weight this season.

With their relatively settled squad, Connacht should be able to see off the Southern Kings on Saturday. That said, the Irishmen would do well not to underestimate this Kings outfit. Despite their performance last week they remain an unknown quantity to European opposition and are certainly capable of providing some surprises – especially with Kurt Coleman at flyhalf.

Although they may have gone down rather badly, in the end, the Kings showed encouraging signs at stages during their opening round defeat to the Scarlets. Coleman’s devilish punt up field and Yaw Penxe’s electrifying pace (which culminated in a try) was a superb play– it’s just a pity that that was as good as it got for the visitors. Coming up against the defending champions was always bound to be a tough first proposition for the Kings, however, and they can take heart from the way they competed during certain periods of play.

Connacht certainly do not have the quality of the Scarlets, and Deon Davids will be pushing his side to the limit this week in order to give themselves the best chance at creating a huge upset on the weekend. While this side will only be playing their second game together, they will be trying to get as close to a full eighty-minute performance as possible this Saturday. What was abundantly clear throughout the Kings’ Super Rugby campaign was that they stand down for no-one, and their tenacious attitude may prove valuable as they attempt to navigate their first Pro14 season.

Verdict: Connacht 1/10 * Please note expected odds.
I believe that home ground advantage really will come in handy this weekend. The Connacht players know what this competition is all about, and their settled side has the experience to beat the Kings this weekend. The Kings may manage a few scores of their own, but will ultimately come out second-best.

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Written by Shaun Goosen for

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