Leinster survived a late comeback from the Kings to win 38-31 in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Despite making an excellent start through a try from the in-form Yaw Penxe, the Kings let themselves down by conceding a plethora of avoidable penalties.
Three Kings players – Stephan Greeff, Schalk Ferreira and Tienie Burger – saw yellow in the first half as a result, giving the young Leinster team an advantage that just was not needed.
To their credit, the Kings stayed in the contest as best they could as they had a fourth player, Berton Klaasen, yellow-carded.
It was the Kings scrum in particular that was dismantled and resulted in Leinster staying in the game as they earned a penalty try to go along with Adam Byrne’s touchdown to take the lead.
The hosts tried to make the game a scrap, which surprisingly kept the scores at 12-12 despite their disadvantage, with Stefan Ungerer reading an attacking play perfectly to intercept and race away for a debut try.
However, Leinster were ruthless in the closing stages of the half with Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Leavy and Max Deegan all scoring to put them 33-12 ahead at the break.
The home side got themselves back into the game at the start of the second half as some excellent defence saw Ungerer pick up a poor pass and score his second intercept try of the match.
A period of Leinster pressure followed and while the Kings did well to hold out, replacement hooker Bryan Byrne powered over.
To their credit, the Kings kept fighting when they could have wilted in the final quarter and after a strong run from CJ Velleman, replacement loosehead Lupumlo Mguca drove himself over the line for a bonus-point try.
A linebreak from Masixole Banda saw the ball spread to Andries van Schalkwyk to allow the Kings to come away with a bonus point for finishing within seven.
Kings – Tries: Yaw Penxe, Stefan Ungerer (2), Lupumlo Mguca, Andries van Schalkwyk. Conversions: Masixole Banda (3).
Leinster – Tries: Adam Byrne, penalty try, Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan, Bryan Byrne. Conversions: Noel Reid (3).
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 JC Astle (c), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Justin Forwood, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Lupumlo Mguca, 18 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 19 Andries van Schalkwyk, 20 CJ Velleman, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Berton Klaasen, 22 Meli Rokoua.
Leinster – 15 Dave Kearney, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Conor O’Brien, 11 Joe Tomane; 10 Noel Reid, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy (c), 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Ed Byrne.
Subs: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Vakh Abdaladze, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Caelan Doris, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Tom Daly.