Damian McKenzie contributed 28 points as the Chiefs recorded a 58-24 bonus-point win over the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Again the Kings showed that while they certainly aren’t lacking in effort or character, they simply don’t have the experience or all-round accuracy to compete for the full 80 minutes. They’ve also conceded a total of 101 points in their first two games.
The Kings will now head to New Zealand, where they’ll first face the Crusaders and then Hurricanes, and there will quite understandably be some concern that things could go from bad to worse.
As they did against the Sharks in round one, the Kings made an encouraging start to Saturday’s match, and were fully deserving of a 12-10 lead when flyhalf Louis Fouché slotted his fourth penalty in the 27th minute.
Co-captain Sam Cane had scored earlier for the Chiefs, and despite the fact they initially battled to wear the Kings’ defence down, the visitors then scored two quick tries through McKenzie and Taleni Seu to suddenly establish a 27-12 lead.
That double strike would have served as a real sucker punch, but the Kings responded well as they launched one final attacking onslaught before half-time, with hooker Edgar Matutlule managing to barge over for a try that reduced the deficit to 10 points.
Yet despite that positive finish to the half from the Kings, they disappointingly conceded two soft tries straight after the restart as Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai and flyhalf Aaron Cruden scored to abruptly burgeon the lead out to 41-17.
That was game, set and match, but the Kings’ fighting spirit was once again on display as Matutlule went over for his second try in the 52nd minute, but soon after Cane dotted down for his second and the Chiefs’ sixth try.
Heading into the latter stages of the match, Kings replacement Martin Bezuidenhout was shown a yellow card after committing a professional foul, and immediately after Chiefs winger Glen Fisiiahi coasted over the tryline. McKenzie would add one more penalty before full-time to complete a super personal and team performance.
Kings – Tries: Edgar Matutlule (2). Conversion: Louis Fouché. Penalties: Fouché (4).
Chiefs – Tries: Sam Cane (2), Damian McKenzie, Taleni Seu, Charlie Ngatai, Aaron Cruden, Glen Fisiiahi. Conversions: McKenzie (7). Penalties: McKenzie (3).
Kings – 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Matutlule, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Sithembiso Sithole, 17 Martin Bezuidenhout, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jaco van Tonder.
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Glen Fisiiahi, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Johan Bardoul, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Subs: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Atu Moli, 19 James Tucker, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Sam McNicol.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images