PORT ELIZABETH – A converted try in the 85th minute by Cheetah replacement Luan du Bruin broke the Southern Kings’ hearts when the visitors ran out 24-17 victors in a PRO14 match in the Madibaz Stadium on Friday evening.
The Kings scored a penalty try eight minutes from time, leaving the score at 17-17.
Mistakes from both sides were the order of the day in a tightly fought encounter.
The Cheetahs took the lead as early as the sixth minute when flyhalf Tian Schoeman set the dangerous left wing Rabz Maxwane to cross for a try.
Schoeman converted (7-0).
The Kings had a good chance to reduce the deficit when the Cheetah scrumhalf and captain, Tian Meyer, was sin-binned in the 16th minute. The home side were unable to capitalise.
The visitors dominated the set-pieces, with the lanky lock JP du Preez playing a pivotal role in the lineouts and scrums for the Free State side. There was no further score in the first half.
The Kings were first to draw blood in the second stanza when flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa scored (7-5).
Fullback Masixole Banda converted to bring the score level at 7-7.
It did not take long for the Cheetahs to take the lead once more, this time flank Junior Pokomela crossed the try line and Schoeman converted.
Banda brought the Kings back in the picture when he slotted a penalty to make it 14-10 in the 48th minute.
The Cheetahs twice came within inches of scoring, but good defence kept them out. The visitors increased their lead when centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg was successful with a penalty.
With eight minutes left, the Kings were awarded a penalty try after relentless pressure (17-17).
De Bruin was the guilty party for entering the ruck from the side, and he was sent to the cooler by the referee.
With play continuing after the buzzer, there was still time for De Bruin to re-enter and score the winning try.
The Toyota @CheetahsRugby succeeded in registering back-to-back Guinness PRO14 victories as they defeated the Isuzu @SouthernKingsSA Kings 24-17 in PE on Friday night @PRO14Official pic.twitter.com/ap4FFXMClN— South African Rugby (@Springboks) January 18, 2019
Southern Kings 17 – Try: Ntabeni Dukisa, Penalty Try. Conversion: Masixole Banda (1). Penalty: Banda (1).
Cheetahs 24 – Tries: Rabz Maxwane, Junior Pokomela, Luan de Bruin. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3). Penalty: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (1).
African News Agency (ANA)