Picture: @PRO14Official/Twitter

Cape Town – The Southern Kings are still without a victory in this season’s Pro14 rugby competition after going down 36-30 to Benetton at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, Italy, on Saturday.

The Italians scored five tries to three and ran out deserved winners. Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis got the first points on the board when he slotted over a penalty for the Kings (3-0).

Leftwing Angelo Espesito scored the first try for the home side in the ninth minute, which flyhalf Ian Keatley converted (7-3). Catrakilis scored a second penalty and Keatley also answered with one of his own (10-6). Catrakilis then made it 10-9 in the 36th minute, but Keatley scored a five-pointer (15-9) just before halftime which he could not convert.

In the second half the home side piled on the pressure and increased their lead with tries by rightwing Ratuva Tavuyara, centre Ignatius Brex and replacement Federico Ruzza. Keatley converted the first two and replacement flyhalf Antonio Rizzi the other (36-9).

The Kings refused to lie down and replacement Rossouw de Klerk scored the first of the visitor’s tries (39-14) in the 65th minute. Replacement-flyhalf Siya Masuka converted (36-16).

The Kings then fought back bravely and scored two more tries, by rightwing Chris Hollis and replacement Bobby de Wee. Masuku converted both (36-30).

Scorers: Benetton 36 (15): Tries: Angelo Espesito, Ian Keatley, Ignatius Brex, Ratuva Tavuyara, Federico Ruzza. Conversion:  Keatley (3), Antonio Rizzi (1).  Penalty: Keatley.

Southern Kings 30 (9): Tries:  Rossouw de Klerk, Chris Hollis, Bobby de Wee. Conversions: Siya Masuku (3).  Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (3).

African News Agency/ANA)