The Southern Kings lost the historic first match on home soil in the Guinness Pro14 31-10 against 4 times champions and five times runners up Leinster.
The Guinness Pro14 originally started as the Pro12 in 2001 expanding to the Pro14 in 2017 as the Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs joined this Northern Hemisphere tournament.
The size of the crowd attending this first game was disappointing to say the least with many estimating the attendance below 1000.
But, even the official attendance figure of 3011 was far below the Pro14 2016–17 season average of 8 771 per match from a total attendance figure of 1 184 091 for the season. The highest attendance last season was 60 642 for the Cardiff Blues v Ospreys / Dragons v Scarlets, Round 20 on 15 April 2017.
— Port Elizabeth (@MyPE) September 16, 2017
At present the Southern Kings are on 0 points after 3 games and languish at the bottom of Conference B. They meet the bottom of the log on Conference A, Zebre next week at home on Saturday evening.
In a game that was characterized by a solid first half that ended 7-3 in favor of Leinster the Southern Kings came out in the second half and, frankly, looked like they were playing a game of throw around on the beach – erratic passing, lack of solid defense lines and running at the defending Leinster rather than probing for gaps and mistakes led to Leinster running in 5 tries which were answered in the dying seconds with a try from the Southern Kings to leave the score at 31-10 in favor of Leinster.
The Kings drew first blood after three minutes when fullback Masixole Banda slotted the ball between the posts from 37 metres to put the home team ahead.
Leinster’s Noel Reid answered with a try. converted by Ross Byrne and after 9 minutes Leinster were in the lead 7-3 until half time.
Leinster came out firing in the second half and centre Rory O’Loughlin crashed over for his sides second try.
In the 38th minute the Irishmen went 17-3 ahead when No 8 Jack Conan crossed for his side’s third try.
Smelling blood Leinster fullback Joey Carbery piled on the misery for the Kings with another five pointer after 51 minutes. The Ross Byrne conversion piled on the misery to 26-3.
One more unconverted try from Dave Kearney saw the gap widen to 31-3.
In the dying moments of the game the Southern Kings finally penetrated the Leinster defense and a good run from Jacques Nel did the damage. Ntabeni Dukisa’s successful conversion saw the game end on 31-10.
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