The Southern Kings denied the Toyota Cheetahs a great opportunity to go top of the South African Conference when they held the Cheetahs to three tries in their 26-12 win over the Southern Kings at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.
Despite creating a number of scoring opportunities, a combination of good defence by the Kings and over-eagerness by the Toyota Cheetahs cost the home team a valuable bonus point.
In fact, the Toyota Cheetahs had 35 minutes to get that fourth try after Willie le Roux scored their third shortly after the break. In the first half, Raymond Rhule and Lappies Labuschagne both rounded off long-range movements as it looked like the team from Central South Africa might run riot.
But the Kings’ defence has been solid all season and they kept the Toyota Cheetahs out. Unfortunately the visitors were also not able to score, thanks to very good defence by the home team. They created one or two chances, but simply could not get through.
Demetri Catrakilis’ boot kept the visitors in the game for the first 40 minutes though, but in the second half they simply had too much defending to do to really threaten.
Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons said the team had showed great improvement on their poor performance the week before against the Vodacom Bulls, attributed to travel fatigue following the team’s first Australasian tour.
“Not to take anything away from the Bulls, who probably put on their best performance to date against the Kings last week, but the players definitely did not play like they usually did in that game,” he said.
Solomons said despite the loss against the Cheetahs, the Kings had put on a very positive performance and had, to some extent, set the record straight.
“There is no comparison between this game and the game we played last week (against the Bulls), we held onto the ball, had much better possession and territory and were unfortunate to come away with the result that we did,” he said.
Solomons said there had been a few lapses in concentration, which had resulted in two tries being scored in the first half, that he felt could have been avoided.
“The first try came from deep within the Cheetah’s territory, while the second was due to a defensive lapse,” he said.
“We also have to work on converting territory and possession into points; we need to be more composed in the opposition’s 22,” said Solomons.
Solomons said none of the Kings players had signs of significant injury, aside from the usual bumps and bruises, although a more comprehensive evaluation would be done once the team had returned to Nelson Mandela Bay.
- Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Raymond Rhule, Lappies Labuschagne, Willie le Roux. Conversion: Burton Francis. Penalty goals: Francis (3).
- Southern Kings – Penalty goals: Demetri Catrakilis (4).