Ungerer: Time for Kings' backline to step up
Cape Town - Southern Kings vice-captain and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer is relishing his side's game against Irish powerhouse Ulster this coming weekend.
Ungerer believes his team's forwards are ready to provide the platform for the backline to attack from.
The Kings' forwards have been impressive in their opening two games of this season's PRO14 Champsionship, and while the team has not won a game yet, the signs are there of a significant improvement from last season.
Ungerer scored a try in either game and has become a key figure in the Kings' set-up, and now wants his backline to use the opportunities they are creating to try and get their first win at home before hitting the road for a batch of away games.
"Our forwards were brilliant on the weekend and gave us good ball for the backline. Our mauls worked well and our scrums were great," Ungerer said.
"It is lovely to have that kind of ball, it is the perfect ball to attack with. We owe our forwards a few tries this weekend with the ball they give us to attack off.
"It makes my life a lot easier playing behind a great pack like they performed this past weekend and I know they have been putting in a lot of work to give us that same performance if not better this weekend. It is now time for the backs to step up and finish off those opportunities."
While he expects a stern challenge from the Irish side, Ungerer believes that his team are on an upward curve and it won't be long before they taste victory. If it comes this weekend it will be all the sweeter for the Port Elizabeth-based franchise.
"Guys are very excited to get our first win. In both of the last two games we had a shot to win and this is our last game at home before we get on the road. We want to put in a great performance and get our first win," he explained.
"They wouldn't have enjoyed their trip to Bloemfontein and they will be coming here hungry for a win on the road. They are an experienced team but their depth is incredible. We know it isn't going to be an easy game but one we want to win."
Ungerer's form on the field comes directly from the confidence that coach Robbi Kempson has instilled in him and the halfback believes he has a vital role to play in building the Kings' culture under the new coaching environment.
"Scoring a try is always lovely as a personal thing, but at the end of the day it goes on the scoreboard as a team try and that is all that matters," he said.
"The confidence that a coach instills in you is great to have on the field. Obviously you still are wary of making mistakes and nobody wants to make mistakes, we're all human. But going into a game with that confidence then the bounce of the ball is going to go your way and gives you confidence to express yourself. That is where rugby players like us play our best rugby."
And he hasn't set too many goals for the season.
"Personally to try and keep the starting jersey as long as possible. As a nine, you want to be on the field and while you understand there are times where I need to be rotated or substituted, to play as much as possible. I don’t want to set too many goals, just taking it one game at a time, and building the culture we have here at the Kings is key. It is quite important at the moment for me. There are a lot of youngsters coming in so I'm just trying to help lift the Kings to become a formidable rugby union."
The Kings face Ulster on Saturday with kick-off at 16:00.
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Josiah Twum-Boafo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Courtney Winnaar, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Lusanda Badiyana (captain), 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Jerry Sexton, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 JC Astle, 20 Bobby de Wee, 21 Josh Allderman, 22 Sibusiso Sithole, 23 Elrigh Louw
- PRO14 Rugby