A powerhouse first-half performance saw the Kings beat the Glasgow Warriors 38-28 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
What a difference a week can make. The Warriors, so ruthless in putting the Cheetahs away last weekend, looked a shadow of that side in the first half at the Madibaz Stadium.
It did not help the visitors’ momentum that nine changes were made to their starting lineup, but credit needs to be given to the Kings who produced possibly their finest game of Pro14 rugby to stun the Conference A leaders.
The hosts started the match on fire and despite seeing far less of the ball, raced into a 14-0 lead thanks to well-worked counter-attacking tries from wing Yaw Penxe and flyhalf Martin du Toit.
In an effort to get back into the match, the Warriors turned to their maul, which leaked a few penalties, but it was the hosts who scored next.
Following a turnover just outside their own 22, the Kings launched a counter-attack which eventually saw the ball go into the hands of scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen, who scored under the posts.
Harlon Klassen thought he had the bonus point for the hosts just after the quarter-hour mark but the try was ruled out for an earlier knock-on.
The Warriors were given a boost when Penxe was rather harshly yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on DTH van der Merwe. However, the Kings held out and cleared their lines, with Glasgow coach Dave Rennie showing his frustration by bringing two players on before half-time.
The Kings not only saw the card out, but managed to extend their lead as Masixole Banda slotted a penalty right on half-time to put them 24 points ahead.
Shortly after the break, the Kings scored again, with Klassen breaking from his own 22, regathering a chip, and sprinting clear for the bonus-point try.
As Glasgow saw more of the ball, the Kings were again reduced by a man, this time flank Henry Brown seeing yellow for cynical play after preventing the Warriors from taking a quick-tap penalty.
The visitors finally managed to open their account, with centre Nick Grigg showing great strength to power over the line from a scrum. Van der Merwe then scored out wide as the hosts started to fall off tackles.
However, the Kings finished strongly, getting themselves near the Warriors tryline, with Du Toit picking up a loose pass to score his second.
It was the Warriors who would have the final say as replacement hooker Fraser Brown crossed from the back of a strong maul, before Van der Merwe scored his second to allow the away side to grab a bonus point.
Kings – Tries: Yaw Penxe, Martin du Toit (2), Rudi van Rooyen, Harlon Klassen. Conversions: Masixole Banda (5). Penalty: Banda.
Glasgow Warriors – Tries: Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe (2), Fraser Brown. Conversions: Adam Hastings (4).
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Harlon Klassen, 12 Berton Klassen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Henry Brown, 5 JC Astle, 4 Bobby de Wee, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Justin Forwood, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, Michael Botha.
Glasgow Warriors – 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nick Grigg, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Pete Horne, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Greg Petersen, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Ali Price, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Robbie Nairn.