A 'bittersweet' goodbye for Kings
REACTION: It was a bittersweet goodbye to Super Rugby for the Southern Kings when they lost their final game in the competition 20-21 to the Cheetahs on Friday.
After some memorable performances which included a record six wins, the Kings wanted to close their Super Rugby chapter with a win in front of their home fans.
But it was not to be, with the Cheetahs, who are also axed from the competition in favour of a 15-team format next season, putting in a late fight in the final 15 minutes to edge the Port Elizabeth side.
"I think we let it slip. We were right in there right at the end and we just let it slip," said Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids.
Davids added: "It's a bit of a bittersweet evening. It's not the best way in which we wanted to say thank you to each other and to the fans that supported us. But looking back at the season, there is a lot of things that we could be proud of.
"We feel that we were blessed. There was a lot of hard work from everyone from the start right until the end. And I think everyone deserves accolades in each and every department and each and every player that contributed to the success of the season.
"A lot of players have grabbed the opportunity. I believe some of them really can go on and play for the national team and there are some of them that will gain more with more exposure to this kind of competition.
"We don't know the road ahead yet, but I think looking back at the season, I can say to the players and the management it was a job well done."
Davids was frustrated with his team's inability to finish off a number of opportunities during the match.
"I think in the first half we really played under pressure. They [Cheetahs] won the territory battle. We did not play to the best of our ability. We kicked a lot of balls away and there was a lot of mistakes and it was just a stop-start affair.
"In the second half, we started well. We created some opportunities, but we just did not finish it the way we could have and like we have done in the past few games.
"Despite the fact that we made a lot of mistakes, we were in control of the game for most of the time, but just at critical situations, we just did not use that and that's the way the game goes. If you don't use your opportunities if you don't keep the scoreboard going then things will turn against you.
"I think we were a bit unlucky with one or two calls going against us, especially towards the end.
"Sometimes you get the decisions for you, sometimes you get it against you. Tonight [Friday] wasn't our night, but from my side congratulations to the Cheetahs for using their opportunities better," Davids added.