|The growth shown by the Isuzu Southern Kings is what offers individual inspiration to team members, scrumhalf Godlen Masimla believes.
The Isuzu Southern Kings have shown some great signs of improvement and maturity in only their second season since joining the Guinness PRO14.
A simple look at the statistics will show a positive picture, particularly the fact that at the end of the side’s inaugural season in the championship the Isuzu Southern Kings had amassed a total of 11 log points after 21 matches had been played.
This season, with only eight rounds of matches behind us, the hard work put in during the off-season has started to yield some positive results with the Port Elizabeth-based side having collected the same 11 points already even before the season has reached the half-way mark.
“As a team we are certainly a better and gradually improving side, we are growing together. We can see that we are almost where we would like to see ourselves,” the 26-year-old Masimla said.
“We have had some very close games, and we need to improve in how we close off matches, then we will see the results we are after.”
Some of the growth within the team can be attributed to the arrival of new players who have proven to be a good fit in the Isuzu Southern Kings system.
“Our growth as a team comes as a result of the experience we have gained over the past year of playing a new and different competition such as the Guinness PRO14. The 2017/18 season was our first as a team, and we did not have that many experienced players coming in,” explained Masimla.
“At the start of this season we have seen experienced players like Sarel Pretorius, JC Astle and Bjorn Basson bringing some much-needed experience which has helped us grow as a team. Along the way we have also had other players joining during the course of the season, and they have made positive contribution.”
Also with the recent addition of Stefan Ungerer to the pool of scrumhalves, which also includes Rudi van Rooyen and Ruan van Rensburg, the Wellington-born Masimla sees the competition for places in the side as a healthy one that motivates the players to improve their own personal skills.
“The focus is always on improving my own game. However, having guys like Stefan Ungerer coming in is only healthy for the team and creates good competition which in turn makes us all better players. At the end of the day such competition brings out the best in me,” he said.
“My individual game has improved from last season. I am in a better position now tactically, technically and in my understanding of my role in the team. My focus at the moment is to offer something better to the team week in, week out. I just want to contribute as much as I can to the Isuzu Southern Kings and to enjoy my rugby.”
Masimla and the rest of the Isuzu Southern Kings squad have been working hard this week in preparation for the Round 9 Guinness PRO14 match against Irish side, Connacht, on Sunday, November 25.
Despite the recent spate of injuries to the team, Masimla expressed confidence in the players who have come in and ably took advantage of the opportunities to slot into the playing team.
“We have lost some quality players to injury who offer a lot to the team. But, we can also be grateful that the players that have come in have not dropped the standard, instead they have made the step up to ensure we continue working on the progress that we are making as a team,” he said.