SYDNEY – The Kings fought back from a 17-point deficit to clinch a historic 26-24 Super Rugby win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.
The Waratahs came into this clash as overwhelming favourites, but within the opening 15 minutes, they would have known the Kings were certainly not going to just be simple pushovers.
In fact, the Kings enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, but the momentum shifted when big Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro finished off a try that originated from a neat cross-kick from Bernard Foley.
Soon after, Waratahs fullback Israel Folau executed a brilliant break from within his own 22, which ultimately culminated in a try for Rob Horne that suddenly sent the hosts into a handy 12-0 lead.
There appeared to be a brief opening for the Kings when Tahs flank Ned Hanigan was sent to the sin bin for a ruck infringement around the half an hour mark. Yet, with the Kings on attack in the red zone, a loose pass was pounced on by the Waratahs, with fleet-footed winger Cameron Clark dashing 90m to inflict another cruel blow on the visitors.
To the Kings’ credit, though, they did hit right back as a charge down eventually provided the opportunity for prop Justin Forwood to barge over for a try that cut the deficit to 10 points at the break. The Kings then came to within five points of the Waratahs as a well-worked try was finished off by Masixole Banda, which suddenly made it anyone’s game.
Even when Kings flanker Chris Cloete spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for a high tackle, a host of handling errors from the ‘Tahs meant they were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority.
That seemed to particularly buoy the Kings, and an impressive lineout drive enabled Michael Willemse to barge over for a try that suddenly sent the hosts into a shock two-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
The Kings then made sure of an historic result as they won a penalty try from a dominant scrum in the 77th minute, and even though Naiyaravoro would score once more before full-time, this was a mere consolation for the Waratahs.
Instead, it would the visitors who celebrated a famous win that won’t be quickly forgotten.
Scorers: Waratahs 24 (17): Tries: Taqele Naiyaravoro (2), Rob Horne, Cameron Clark. Conversions: Bernard Foley (2).
Kings 26 (7): Tries: Justin Forwood, Masixole Banda, Michael Willemse, penalty try. Conversions: Lionel Cronjé (2).
African News Agency