We’ve seen this movie before.
The Kings on Saturday produced a valiant performance as they lost 26-39 to the Jaguares in Port Elizabeth.
However, the problem with a gritty showing is that it simply isn’t enough at Super Rugby level – Deon Davids’ men need to play winning rugby.
Granted, this was only the first game of the season and there’s always the possibility that this group of underrated and upcoming players can improve on last year’s showing.
Based on this showing though, the pickings will again be slim.
The Kings generally defended well in this game against opponents that clearly intended to run them off their feet.
That the Jaguares ended with only three tries was actually a victory of sorts.
The flip side, of course, is that the Argentinians merely missed numerous other opportunities to cross the whitewash due to early season rustiness.
And that should encourage coach Raul Perez.
The visitors’ set-pieces – a traditional strength – was solid and they didn’t fall into the trap of panicking after they conceded three early penalties.
Without being ruthless, they comfortably disposed of opponents they should be expected to beat reasonably easy.
It’s a nice platform to build from.
The final scoreline flattered the Kings to an extent.
By the 60th minute they had already fallen behind 39-12 and only started to make some headway after the Jaguares slacked off to an extent.
It shouldn’t detract though from winger Makazole Mapimpi’s brilliant individual try.
From a standing start, he accelerated and weaved through various tackles to cross the line.
It was a cracking piece of play.
Yet it’s all about the basics in this game.
The Kings struggled in the scrums – despite having a potentially powerful front row – and perhaps lack the class to play on the front foot.
Given their situation, you can’t expect more really.
Point scorers: Jaguares 39 (19) – Tries: Gonzalo Betranou, Leonardo Senatore, Joaquin Tuculet. Conversions: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (2), Joaquin Diaz Bonilla. Penalties: Bonilla (3), Gonzalez Iglesias (3). Kings 26 (12) – Tries: Makazole Mapimpi, Luzuko Vulindlu. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2). Penalties: Cronje (4).