Replacement winger Elgar Watts scored a late try to earn South Africa’s Kings a first Super Rugby victory of the season with a 33-28 success over the Sunwolves of Japan at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Asian side are still winless after five matches in their debut campaign in the competition, but they were left to rue missed opportunities as they dominated the second-half possession but could not turn it into points.
Lock Steven Sykes, winger Malcolm Jaer and centre Shane Gates scored the Kings’ other tries while flyhalf Louis Fouche kicked three penalties and two conversions.
The Sunwolves crossed the line four times as well in another promising attacking performance that yielded only a losing bonus-point.
Hooker Shota Horie, flyhalf Tusi Pisi, lock Tim Bond and wing Akihito Yamada scored their tries.
The home side were quickest out the blocks and led 15-3 following scores for Sykes and Jaer that were a mix of brute power and excellent running angles.
But that seemed to awaken the Sunwolves and it was they who dominated the next period of play, levelling the scores with two tries of their own.
After an attacking line-out in the Kings 22, the visitors spread the ball wide and despite a fumble, Horie dived over for their first.
Two minutes later Samoan Pisi, who this week announced he would move to Bristol in England for the 2016-17 season, scored a fine individual effort when his dummy pass bamboozled two home defenders.
After a successful penalty attempt, the Kings extended their lead as Bates profited from a messy ruck and as the ball squirted out the side, he picked it up and raced 50 metres to score.
But again the visitors responded as Pisi was the architect with a fine chip and chase and Bond went over out wide as the teams headed into halftime with the Kings holding a narrow 23-20 advantage.
The teams traded penalties early in the second period before the Sunwolves laid siege to the Kings 22 but in the face of some scrambling and at times heroic defence, they were held at bay.
Watts sealed the win for the home side when he scored with two minutes remaining with a rare foray into the Sunwolves 22 in the second period.