Despite a committed and industrious performance from the Isuzu Southern Kings, the South African franchise went down by 32 points to 16 against Zebre in their GUINNESSPRO14 Championship season opener played in Parma, Italy on Friday, 31 August 2018.
Fullback Michael Botha, who was one of six players in the match day squad making their debut for the Isuzu Southern Kings, scored the franchise’s first try, and points, of the 2018/2019 season when he touched down after 15 minutes at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. Masixole Banda’s conversion of Botha’s try was the first of a flawless four out of four kicks goaled by the Kings’ pivot on the night and brought his team to within just three points of the home side. Another score by Zebre just before halftime though saw the home side go into the break leading by 17 points to 7.
The second half action mirrored that of the first with Zebre scoring another 17 points through a try, a goal and a penalty, whilst the Isuzu Southern Kings replied with three penalties from the boot of Banda.
A feature of the match was the penalty count which went against the SA franchise by 15 to 4 and it was an area that Head Coach Deon Davids immediately identified as “requiring urgent attention” when speaking post- match.
“Our discipline let us down tonight and that cost us. On a number of occasions we got ourselves into promising positions on