The Southern Kings failed to capitalise on a good opportunity to get their second win in the PRO14 when they went down 29-19 to Connacht in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Despite playing with a one-man advantage for the majority of the match, the Kings weren’t able to create enough decent opportunities as they suffered the 12th defeat of the season.
The visitors made a flying start when flank Colby Fainga’a intercepted to run in for the game’s first try with only 50 seconds on the clock.
Good buildup play led to a second try for Connacht five minutes later, when fullback Tiernan O’Halloran danced his way through some poor Kings defending to dot down underneath the posts.
The match was turned on its head when replacement Peter Robb was given a red card for striking Howard Mnisi in the neck with a leaning elbow as he tried to fend off the centre.
And Connacht were reduced to 13 men a few moments later when Kyle Godwin was yellow-carded for an infringement on their own tryline.
It would eventually lead to a first try for the Kings with Stefan Ungerer crossing the whitewash before winger Erich Cronje scored a second for the home side.
A Jack Carty penalty gave Connacht a 17-14 lead at the break and the flyhalf went in for a try of his own at the start of the second half to extend his side’s lead.
But Cronje scored his second try of the match when he dove over in the corner for the Kings to cut the deficit to two points.
Intense pressure by Connacht, however, led to a penalty try after replacement Ruaan Lerm was sent to the sin bin causing the Kings scrum to collapse.
Ill-discipline for the majority of the second half allowed Connacht to dictate matters with the Kings failing to create point-scoring opportunities.
Kings – Tries: Stefan Ungerer, Erich Cronje (2). Conversions: Siyabonga Masuku (2).
Connacht – Tries: Colby Fainga’a, Tiernan O’Halloran, Jack Carty, penalty try. Conversions: Jack Carty (3). Penalty: Carty.
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Christopher Hollis, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Erich Cronje, 10 Siyabonga Masuku, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Lusanda Badiyana, 5 JC Astle (c), 4 Jerry Sexton, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Robin Stevens, 17 Xandre Vos, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Theo Maree, 22 Tiaan Botes, 23 Josiah Twum-Boafo.
Connacht – 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 John Porch, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler (c), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Paul Boyle, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 2 Shane Delahunt, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Subs: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Conor Kenny, 19 Eoghan Masterson, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Peter Robb.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images