Kings save whitewash blushes

An amazing bounce back from the Kings to secure a four-try bonus point win against the Highlanders, but pretty dire from the Sharks, Stormers and Cheetahs.

The win in Port Elizabeth saved the South African conference from being white-washed.

The Stormers could not hold of the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney as they conceded a late try and penalty in a 21-15 defeat to drop their second match on tour. Suspected season-ending injuries to Duane Vermeulen and Rynhardt Elstadt compounded their misery.

On Friday, the Sharks and Cheetahs lost out to the Reds and Hurricanes respectively, the Sharks paying dearly for a slow start, while the Bloem boys scored two tries in the last ten minutes, but still came up short.

The Bulls’ bye saw them secure 4 points and extend their lead in the SA Conference.

Match reviews:

Reds 32 (29), Sharks 17 (3)

The Reds avenged some of the pain inflicted on them by the Sharks in recent Super Rugby seasons with a comfortable win in Brisbane.

The Sharks have a massive injury toll, and are clearly facing a few internal demons, but were up against a Reds side that was in astonishing form in the first half. The Sharks first-half defence was woeful though, and they slipped too many tackles against a team that was then allowed to play with confidence and energy.

The Reds raced to a 29-3 lead by halftime, clinching their four-try bonus point as early as the 34th minute. In the second half The Sharks fought back strongly, and might have made a race of it had Lwazi Mvovo not been denied an intercept try that an assistant referee ruled to have come from a knock-on.

It was a 12-point game with 15 minutes on the clock and the Reds, looking tired, were suddenly vulnerable, but on their next incursion into Sharks territory they forced the penalty which Quade Cooper kicked to make the game safe with 8 minutes to go.

It was the Sharks fifth consecutive defeat since their last victory against the Crusaders and one would suggest that to be the season for them. Time to rest the established Boks like Jannie du Plessis, and play into form the Boks returning from injury like Willem Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis.

Reds – Tries: Saia Faingaa, Rod Davies (2), Anthony Faingaa. Conversions: Quade Cooper (3). Penalties: Cooper (2).

Sharks – Tries: Piet Lindeque, Derick Minnie. Conversions: Patrick Lambie (2). Penalty: Lambie


Cheetahs 34 (12), Hurricanes 39 (12)

The Cheetahs hopes of sneaking the SA conference too a hammer blow on Friday night … And to be honest, if you cannot beat the Canes at home, without Conrad Smith, then you probably do not deserve to win the conference.

A Elgar Watts penalty on fulltime gave the home side a crucial bonus point, but the loss certainly does dent their hopes as they fell five points behind the Bulls, who have also played one game fewer than them and had their final bye this weekend.

The Cheetahs will rue their performance during the first 10 minutes after the break. Scores were tied (12-12) at the break, but the Cheetahs gave away two tries in four minutes and watched the momentum totally shift to the Hurricanes.

They were forced into catch-up rugby and while they did come back strongly – most notably through strong performances by Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and Robert Ebersohn – it was never going to be enough.

Oosthuizen was an absolute machine on the night. He scrummed well, slowed the opposition ball down, forced turnovers, and took the ball up fantastically. Quite clearly over his back and neck injuries, Os must stop with this tighthead experiment (because he is no Number 3) and allow Coenie to flourish at loosehead. Going on the season’s form, it should be Oosthuizen starting at 1 and not on the bench as cover for both sides …

In the second half Barrett found a gap and went over from close range and a few minutes later an aimless kick by Willie le Roux was exploited by the Hurricanes as it was flung wide to Julian Savea, who booted ahead with Le Roux off his wing and no defender covering for him. The All Black winger sprinted easily past Sarel Pretorius to win the race and take the score from 12-all to 22-12 in the Canes’ favour.

TJ Perenara added a third try with a snipe close to the line and Barrett extended the lead with a penalty before the killer blow was landed by captain Vito, after the Cheetahs tried a suicidal run from their own line.

Twenty points down with 15 to go, the Cheetahs did their best to come back into the game, but the fat lady had not only warmed up, but begun her version of “Span die Seile”.

Cheetahs – Tries: Coenie Oosthuizen (2), Robert Ebersohn. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2). Penalties: Burton Francis (4), Watts.

Hurricanes – Tries: Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito. Conversions: Barrett (2). Penalties: Barrett (5).


Waratahs 21 (8), Stormers 15 (3)

A rare Stormers defensive error three minutes from time, with Bryan Habana coming off his line to go for the intercept, allowed the Waratahs to score the try that clinched a crucial win in Sydney on Saturday.

It was the first Stormers defeat to the Waratahs in quite some time and they must have thought their 15-11 lead was going to be enough to send the home side packing in what would have been only their second loss at home this year.

Berrick Barnes, on as a replacement, saw Habana shoot out of line and sent a pass for Israel Folau to take behind Habana’s head and score.

Barnes converted and then to compound the Stormers’ misery fullback Joe Pietersen was short with the restart and in the resulting scrum on the halfway line the Waratahs forced a penalty which Barnes kicked to make it 21-15.

Rynhardt Elstadt and Duane Vermeulen left the field in the last 10 minutes with serious injuries to their knees and they are now on their way home, adding to the Stormers woes.

It was the second successive week where the Stormers were denied in a close game, but again, they only have themselves to blame for losing.

A defensive mindset that saw them look more comfortable without the ball, and a massive error rate that continually kept the Stormers in first gear and prevented them from taking control of a game that sometimes they looked capable of doing.

As it stands right now, they’ve scored 17 tries in 10 games, which is why the Stormers are now languishing in 10th position with six games to go.

Waratahs – Tries: Cam Crawford, Israel Folau. Conversion: Berrick Barnes. Penalties: Brendan McKibbin (2), Barnes.

Stormers – Penalties: Joe Pietersen (5).


Kings 34 (20), Highlanders 27 (17)

The Kings responded in style to the previous week’s humiliation as they picked up a four-try bonus point on the way to beating the Highlanders in Port Elizabeth.

The Highlanders, who remain bottom after this defeat, fought back well in the last quarter hour of the game and they caused some consternation among the 18 000 Kings supporters in the final minutes that didn’t seem possible when the hosts took a 34-17 lead with just over 20 minutes to go.

The Kings played with great aggression and control, and from the opening minutes it was clear that the they were back to their abrasive best, and wouldn’t be taking a backward step.

After two minutes they had forced a penalty which Demetri Catrakilis kicked to make it 3-0 and he kicked another after eight minutes.

The Highlanders did bring three points back with a Colin Slade penalty, before Kings captain Luke Watson, who was in imperious form and seemingly back as the agreed upon squad leader, scored off a lineout driving maul.

Shaun Treeby split the Kings defenders and Brad Thorn in for a try. The conversion made it 17-13 to the Highlanders before Watson scored a second try off another drive to reclaim the lead on the hooter (20-17).

The third quarter was all Kings. They camped in Highlanders territory for the first 10 minutes before they took the ball through 17 phases en route to an excellent try rounded off by man of the match Cornell du Preez.

Five minutes after that, Du Preez put in an amazing pass to Bandise Maku, who made the break and put scrumhalf Shaun Venter away for the try.

The Catrakilis conversion made it 34-17 and some heroic defending in the last five minutes secured their third win of the season and their first over New Zealand opposition. They deserve the rest and the four log points they will enjoy next week.

Kings – Tries: Luke Watson (2), Cornell Du Preez, Shaun Venter. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (4). Penalties: Catrakilis (2).

Highlanders– Try: Colin Slade, Brad Thorn, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear. Conversions: Slade (2). Penalty: Slade.


Other results – Round 13:

Chiefs 22, Western Force 21 (Pukekohe)

Blues 36, Melbourne Rebels 32 (Auckland)


Super Rugby log:

Brumbies Pld:11 W:7 Pts:45

Chiefs Pld:11 W:8 Pts:44

Bulls Pld:10 W:7 Pts:41

Reds Pld:12 W:8 Pts:44

Blues Pld:10 W:6 Pts:41

Crusaders Pld:10 W:6 Pts:38

Cheetahs Pld:11 W:7 Pts:36

Waratahs Pld:11 W:6 Pts:34

Hurricanes Pld:11 W:6 Pts:33

Stormers Pld:10 W:4 Pts:30

Sharks Pld:11 W:5 Pts:29

Rebels Pld:11 W:2 Pts:24

Kings Pld:11 W:3 Pts:20

Force Pld:12 W:2 Pts:19

Highlanders Pld:10 W:1 Pts:16


South African Conference

Bulls Pld:10 W:7 Pts:41

Cheetahs Pld:11 W:7 Pts:36

Stormers Pld:10 W:4 Pts:30

Sharks Pld:11 W:5 Pts:29

Kings Pld:11 W:3 Pts:20

New Zealand Conference

Chiefs Pld:11 W:8 Pts:44

Blues Pld:10 W:6 Pts:41

Crusaders Pld:10 W:6 Pts:38

Hurricanes Pld:11 W:6 Pts:33

Highlanders Pld:10 W:1 Pts:16

Australian Conference

Brumbies Pld:11 W:7 Pts:45

Reds Pld:12 W:8 Pts:44

Waratahs Pld:11 W:6 Pts:34

Rebels Pld:11 W:2 Pts:24

Force Pld:12 W:2 Pts:19


Next week’s Super Rugby fixtures:

Friday 17 May

09:35 Hurricanes vs Chiefs

11:40 Rebels vs Stormers

13:45 Force vs Sharks

Saturday 18 May

09:35 Crusaders vs Blues

11:40 Waratahs vs Brumbies

17:05 Bulls vs Highlanders

19:10 Cheetahs vs Reds

One Comment

  1. Great to see some good fight coming from the Kings. Will this now quiet the rugby population, many who are very vocal about the Kings not deserving the place in the comp to begin with?

    I would also be keen to know if anyone thinks they have what it takes to beat any of the teams now lining up to face them for the “home stretch”?

    WHile not a fan of Luke Watson, he does need mention for 2 tries in the game but is this the end of the road?

    I, myself am hopeful of another win. I am also hopeful that, regardless of the games needing to be played, the Kings manage to retain the services of thos players who have stood out this year to build on the success for the years to come.

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