Fullback Masixole Banda produced an outstanding performance for the Southern Kings, but it was still not enough to see his team through as they lost 41-34 to the Scarlets in their PRO14 clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday night.
Banda used his speed and agility to open the scoring with a try in the second minute (5-0). He converted and thereafter also slotted a penalty (10-0).
Scarlets then hit back with a penalty by Dan Jones (10-3), before some more Banda-magic set-up a try for right wing Yaw Penxe, which Banda converted for a 17-3 lead.
Scarlets scored their first try in the 27th minute when hooker Dafydd Hughes crossed the line, but Banda extended his team’s lead with another penalty (20-10).
The Scarlets refused to lie down, and flank Will Boyde brought his team closer when he dotted down after a good rolling maul from the visitors. Jones missed the conversion (20-15).
The Welsh side started the second half on fire and took the lead for the first time when Ioan Nicholas scored and Jones converted (22-20).
That was just the impetus that the Kings needed. Deon Davids’ side showed good fighting spirit and were rewarded with tries by Harlon Klaasen and Bjorn Basson. Banda converted both to take his team into a commanding 34-22 lead.
And again the Scarlets came bouncing back, this time with a try by prop Werner Kruger, Jones converting to get his team within one score of the home side at 34-29.
With seven minutes left, the television match official (TMO) was called in to decide whether Scarlets’ scrumhalf Kieran Hardy had enough momentum to cross the line after another maul from the visitors.
The try was awarded and Jones succeeded with the conversion to put Scarlets ahead (36-34).
The Kings’ chances of fighting back received a huge blow with four minutes left when replacement prop Lupumlo Mguca was yellow-carded.
Shortly thereafter, replacement Taylor Davies scored from yet another rolling maul for the Scarlets.
Jones missed the conversion, but the visitors were able to hold on for a 41-34 victory.
Southern Kings 34 – Tries: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Harlon Klaasen, Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Banda (4), Penalties: Banda (2).
Scarlets 41 – Tries: Dafydd Hughes, Will Boyde, Ioan Nicholas, Werner Kruger, Kieran Hardy, Taylor Davies. Conversions: Dan Jones (4), Penalty: Jones (1).
African News Agency (ANA)