FILE - The Southern Kings team. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – The Cardiff Blues scored three late tries to claim a hard-fought 31-27 win over the Kings in their PRO14 opener in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Kings will be mightily disappointed with this result. The hosts enjoyed a handy lead at halftime but had failed to take full advantage when the Blues were reduced to 13 men just before the break after a couple of yellow cards had been dished out.

At that point, the signs suggested that the Kings may be in line to follow in the footsteps of the Cheetahs, who romped to a 48-14 victory over the Glasgow Warriors in their season-opener on Friday.

However, the Kings ultimately didn't have the stamina to close out the game, while the Blues instead finished as the stronger side.

From a bigger picture perspective, though, there were at least some encouraging signs from a Kings team that has come into this season at the start of yet another rebuilding phase.

In the weeks leading up to this season, several new players and an overhauled coaching staff were put in place, and so they will feel there is something to work with.

Although the game looked sewn up with five minutes, Andell Loubser scored a good try for the Kings in the 78th minute, which reduced the deficit to just four points.

The Kings also had a chance to snatch a win with one last late surge, but the Blues did just enough to hang on for an important result.

Scorers: Kings 27 (13):  Tries: Martinus Burger, Jacques du Toit, Andell Loubster. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3). Penalties: Catrakilis (2).
Cardiff Blues 31 (5): Seb Davies, Liam Belcher, Matt Morgan, Kristian Dacey, Harri Millard. Conversions: Jarrod Evans (3).

African News Agency (ANA)