They may be the tournament rookies, but the Southern Kings will not be short on Super Rugby experience in 2013.
Kings captain Luke Watson, in an interview with this website, insisted his team will not be caught short when they make their debut in this SANZAR showpiece later this month.
Watson, the Kings' most experienced player with 10 Tests and over 200 first class games, which include 80-odd Super Rugby matches, knows all about the demands of Super Rugby.
"Our preparation has been fantastic so far," he said of the team's pre-season build-up - which moves into the final stages when they take on Griquas in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
However, it is the supposed lack of Super Rugby experience in the squad that has many pundits predicting the slaughter of the Kings.
"We have numerous players in the squad that have played a considerable amount of Super Rugby," Watson told this website, adding: "Steven Sykes, Bandise Maku, Jaco Engels, Andries Strauss, Waylon Murray, Ross Geldenhuys, Hadleigh Parkes and myself.
"There are a few guys that have had exposure to Super Rugby, so there is some experience floating around."
Asked what he felt the key aspects are, Watson said it is all about intensity and speed.
"That is the one thing where Super Rugby is different to most other competitions in the world, the speed and the intensity of the game," the Kings skipper said.
"We have been bringing that to our practices and continuously making it things faster and getting the boys adapting to the big increase in speed."
Watson, who has captained many teams, including the Stormers and Bath, said he will also lean on the other players with Super Rugby experience.
"One of the pillars of leadership throughout my career is really relying on delegation and other leaders in the squad to carry a certain amount of responsibility," he said.
"Obviously Andries [Strauss] has been a leader in his own right and also Steven [Sykes], I will rely on him quite a bit as he has been a leader at the Sharks.
"I am fortunate to have some very strong leaders around me and I will definitely be relying on them."
By Jan de Koning
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