The Kings conceded nine tries as they suffered a woeful 59-10 defeat to Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The Kings have endured a horror debut season in the Pro14, and came into this clash on the back of 13 successive defeats, while having conceded a whopping 518 points.
To make matters worse, the Kings had to head overseas this week without head coach Deon Davids, who was unavailable due to medical reasons, with Barend Pieterse now filling in on a caretaker basis.
By all accounts, it looks sure to be a long and challenging tour for the Kings, who are set to face the Ospreys and Leinster over the next fortnight before heading home.
In fact, an increasing fear is that the Kings could go through this entire season without a win, and they were once again simply no match for Ulster on Friday despite the fact that some key Ireland internationals are on Six Nations duty.
The Kings conceded three tries in the first half, with Ulster winger Craig Gilroy claiming an early double as the hosts opened up a commanding 21-3 buffer at the break.
Gilroy completed his hat-trick in the second period as the Kings leaked another six tries, with the only real riposte from the Kings coming via a late try to Harlon Klaasen.
In the midst of another disappointing defeat for the Kings, what shouldn’t be overlooked is that Joy Neville became the first woman to referee a Pro14 game, and handled the game with aplomb.
Meanwhile, the Kings remain rooted to the bottom of Conference B after tallying just four log points over 14 games.
Ulster – Tries: Craig Gilroy (3), Stuart McCloskey, Johnny McPhillips, Rob Lyttle (2), Kieran Treadwell, Darren Cave. Conversions: John Cooney (7).
Kings – Try: Harlon Klaasen. Conversion: Benhard Janse van Rensburg. Penalty: Masixole Banda
Ulster – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Rob Lyttle, 10 Johnny McPhillips, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Mattie Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor (c), 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 John Andrew, 1 Andrew Warwick.
Subs: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Matt Dalton, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Jonny Stewart, 22 Darren Cave, 23 Louis Ludik.
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Burger Martinus, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Harlon Klaasen.
Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images