Un­gerer wants to make No 9 jersey his very own

● Strong run­ner could be cat­a­lyst for Kings’ re­vival

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport - GE­ORGE BY­RON

Af­ter scor­ing two tries on his Guin­ness PRO14 de­but, ro­bust scrumhalf Ste­fan Un­gerer aims to make the Isuzu South­ern Kings No 9 jersey his own this sea­son.

Un­gerer, who ar­rived from the Pu­mas in Oc­to­ber, de­liv­ered a strong show­ing de­spite the Kings go­ing down 38-31 to Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Le­in­ster at the Madibaz Sta­dium on Sun­day.

“I will take the tries when they come and luck­ily the ball bounced in my di­rec­tion,” Un­gerer said.

“Now I am look­ing to make that start­ing berth mine as much as pos­si­ble. I ar­rived in Port El­iz­a­beth last Fri­day and watched the Kings match against the Scar­lets.

“I joined in train­ing on Mon­day and I re­mem­bered some of my calls from last time when I played for the Kings in Su­per Rugby. My team­mates also did a lot to help me set­tle in.

“I was ex­cited to play af­ter a two-week break af­ter rep­re­sent­ing the Pu­mas in the Cur­rie Cup.

So I was look­ing for­ward to get­ting back on the field for my first PRO14 game against north­ern hemi­sphere op­po­nents.

“I felt the game was phys­i­cal and fly­half Mar­tin du Toit and loose for­ward Ruaan Lerm made me feel at home on my PRO14 de­but.”

Un­gerer feels PRO14 is a bit more phys­i­cal than the Cur­rie Cup.

“With the strong wind we had for the game, there were lots of stop­pages, but when play got go­ing it was rel­a­tively quick. I would say it is a bit more phys­i­cal than Cur­rie Cup.

“In the first half the wind was ter­ri­ble. As we turned for the sec­ond half, it felt like it died down slightly.

“It was tough play­ing into it. We adapted well in some sit­u­a­tions and in oth­ers we could have done bet­ter.

“I was grate­ful to get this chance to start. I had been hop­ing to be in the mix and I was a bit sur­prised to start. I en­joyed it a lot.

“I don’t think I was in the best of shape when I came here last time from the Sharks and I also had an in­jury when I ar­rived.

“I needed some re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at that time and Louis Schreuder was play­ing good rugby at scrumhalf.

“So it was dif­fi­cult to get into the mix. Now I want to get to know the Kings game plan to a T. As a No 9 you are al­ways go­ing to be in the ac­tion, and I want to get to know my role bet­ter.

“I want to give the guys at the back some good quick ball. As South Africans play­ing in Eu­rope, we must bring some­thing dif­fer­ent. We might not al­ways have the big­gest pack so we have to have an­other edge.

“We must look to pick up the pace of the game.

“I en­joyed my time at the Pu­mas with coach Brent Janse van Rens­burg.

“I built my con­fi­dence as player there. I played a lot, which is great for a No 9 where you want to be in the game sit­u­a­tion all the time.”

Kings coach Deon Davids showed his con­fi­dence in Un­gerer by throw­ing him in at the deep end only days af­ter he ar­rived from Nel­spruit.

“I have a lot of con­fi­dence in Ste­fan,” Davids said.

“I think his ba­sic play is good. On top of that he has a good pass and kick­ing game.

“Cou­pled with that he has a good feel for the game.

“In our last match against Le­in­ster, Ste­fan asked a few ques­tions at the break­down.

“His de­fence is also good, so it is great that Ste­fan is back in Port El­iz­a­beth. With ex­pe­ri­enced Sarel Pre­to­rius also ex­pected to be back in the next few weeks, we should have good depth at scrumhalf.”

If Un­gerer can con­tinue with the form he showed against the Le­in­ster side, the strong-run­ning No 9 could be the cat­a­lyst in a Kings re­vival dur­ing the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

Pho­to­graph: : GALLO IMAGES

BACK WITH A BANG: Isuzu South­ern Kings scrumhalf Ste­fan Un­gerer throws out a pass dur­ing his de­but against Guin­ness PRO14 cham­pi­ons Le­in­ster

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