PORT ELIZABETH – The Southern Kings produced a brilliant display of counter-attacking rugby to beat the high-flying Glasgow Warriors 38-28 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The home side were outstanding in defence and gave away nothing to the Scottish side in the first half. The Kings had lost their previous three matches, while the Warriors were unbeaten so far this season.
The Kings had a chance to take the lead after just two minutes, but fullback Banda Masixole missed with a penalty. That did not break the Kings’ spirit. With the Warriors putting great pressure on Deon Davids’ side, the Kings produced a piece of magic to open the scoring.
The home side started a backline movement and rightwing Yaw Penxe showed great pace and composure to out-sprint the defence and dotted down (5-0). Banda converted to get the Kings on track for a famous victory (7-0). The visitors tried to find momentum by running at the Kings, but the Eastern Cape side defended gallantly.
The Kings increased their lead when flyhalf Martin du Toit forced his way over, with leftwing DTH van der Merwe too late to stop him (12-0). Banda was on cue once again with the conversion (14-0).
The Kings started gaining confidence and were denied another try when prop Schalk Ferreira fluffed his lines with the try line at his mercy. It did not take the home side long to grab a third try. Great passing and offloads saw scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen score (19-0) and Masixole added the two extra points (21-0).
Masixole then added another three points by putting over a penalty and leaving the halftime score at 24-0.
In the second half the Kings built on their lead when centre Harlon Klaassen received a pass from fellow centre Berton Klaassen and out-sprinted the Glasgow defence to dot down (29-0). Masixole did the rest (31-0). The try also brought up the bonus point for the Kings.
The home team had to endure huge pressure after flanker Henry Brown was sent to the sinbin after some cynical obstruction play.
The Warriors got over the try line in the 59th minute, but the TMO could not say for sure whether fullback Ruaridh Jackson had grounded the ball. Berton Klaassen did good work to stop the Warriors’ star.
A minute later the visitors did get their first points when centre Nick Grigg barged over (31-5). Substitute flyhalf Adam Hastings was successful with the kick (31-7).
The Warriors continued to apply the pressure and Van der Merwe scored in the corner (31-12). Hastings converted (31-14).
Although the Warriors were starting to gain the ascendancy, it was the Kings that struck again. Flyhalf Du Toit latched onto a loose ball to score his second try (36-14). Masixole obliged with the kick to take the score to 38-14 and put the Kings well on their way to their first victory of the season.
Substitute Fraser Brown scored his team’s third try with three minutes left (38-19) and Hastings converted (38-21). The visitors made too many handling faults and produced one of their weakest displays in this competition. Nothing can, however, be taken away from the Kings who were good value for their victory.
The Kings had a third player yellow-carded when replacement scrumhalf Godlen Masimla was sent off with less than two minutes left. Van der Merwe scored his teams bonus point-try with the last move of the match (38-26). Hastings converted.
Kings: 38 (24) Tries: Yaw Penxe, Martin du Toit (2), Rudi van Rooyen, Harlon Klaassen. Conversions: Banda Masixole (5), penalty: Masixole.
Warriors 28 (0): Tries: Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe (2), Fraser Brown. Conversions: Adam Hastings (4).
African News Agency (ANA)