FILE PHOTO: Southern Kings coach Deon Davids. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

BLOEMFONTEIN – The Southern Kings and Cheetahs were left counting the cost of vital errors in their Pro14 home matches this weekend, as a late penalty goal allowed the Dragons to force an 18-18 draw against the Kings, while the Cheetahs went down 31-14 against Ospreys.

Fortunately for coach Deon Davids’ charges, the result was sufficient to keep them above the Dragons on the log standings in Conference B.

The Dragons drew first blood with Adam Warren rounding off some enterprising play from a chip kick, which Josh Lewis backed up with a penalty goal in the 11th minute for an 8-0 lead. 

The Kings struck back strongly with two tries in two minutes by Stefan Ungerer and Bjorn Basson, with a subsequent penalty goal by Bader Pretorius pushing them 13-8 ahead.

Davids’ men continued to test the Dragons as the half progressed, but mistakes at crucial times denied them from taking advantage of two more solid plays before the break.

The home side extended their lead to 18-8 in the third quarter thanks to a third try by Harlon Klaasen, who dashed past a defender to touch down. The Dragons reduced their deficit to three points minutes later as Jordan Williams scored a fantastic individual try.

There was high drama shortly after as both teams were reduced to 13 men, with front-rowers Leon Brown and Alulutho Tshakweni being yellow-carded for repeated infringements in the scrums, while Lloyd Fairbrother and Michael Makase were also sent to the sin-bin shortly after for charging into a ruck dangerously, and playing an opponent in the air respectively.

The men from Port Elizabeth managed to remain in the lead despite this, but a high tackle with two minutes remaining cost them dearly. This allowed Lewis to level the scores, leaving the teams tied at 18-18.

Scorers:
Southern Kings 18 (13): Tries: Stefan Ungerer, Bjorn Basson, Harlon Klaasen. Penalty Goal: Bader Pretorius.
Dragons 18 (8): Tries: Adam Warren, Jordan Williams. Conversion: Josh Lewis. Penalty Goals: Josh Lewis (2).

Meanwhile, in Bloemfontein, unforced errors cost the Cheetahs dearly in their Pro14 match against Ospreys at the Free State Stadium on Saturday. The Cheetahs were beaten 31-14.

Ospreys scored twice in the first half to take a 14-0 lead and added another two tries after the break to secure a much needed bonus-point, while the Cheetahs scored two second-half tries.

The opening quarter was closely fought as the teams tried to breach the defence with no success. Back-to-back tries for the Ospreys within four minutes – scored by Dan Evans and Olly Cracknell – gave them the edge in what proved to be the only points of the half.

The Cheetahs showed good intent on attack in the early exchanges, but turnovers and penalties conceded broke their momentum.

The hosts, however, came out firing after play resumed as Dries Swanepoel twisted his way through the defence to crash over, and Tian Schoeman converted.

But Ospreys cancelled this out soon after as Justin Tipuric caught the defence off-guard with a quick penalty tap, which they followed up with their bonus-point try by Cory Allen and a penalty goal to stretch their lead to 31-7.

The men from Wales were dealt a blow soon after as Adam Beard received a yellow card, and the hosts took advantage of this as Reinach Venter scored their second try from a rolling maul. The successful conversion allowed Schoeman to break the 100-point mark for the season.

Neither team was able to add to their score in the closing minutes, which allowed Ospreys to walk away with the 31-14 victory.

Scorers:
Cheetahs 14 (0): Tries: Dries Swanepoel, Reinach Venter. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2).
Ospreys 31 (14): Tries: Dan Evans, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Cory Allen. Conversions: Luke Price (2), Sam Davies (2). Penalty Goals: Sam Davies.

Other Pro14 results:
Glasgow Warriors 30-7 Ulster - Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Munster 45-21 Cardiff Blues - Irish Independent Park, Cork
Zebre 5-6 Connacht - Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma
Scarlets 12-20 Edinburgh - Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Leinster 27-27 Benetton - RDS Arena, Dublin

African News Agency (ANA)