The Southern Kings met their bottom of the log counterparts the Sunwolves from Japan in a do-or-die encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday 2 April at 17h05. Both teams were seeking that elusive W to be placed on the Results log along with vital points.
Earlier in this week Southern Kings number 11, Malcolm Jaer spoke about the possibility of his first try in Super Rugby. A product of Brandwag High School in Uitenhage, Jaer has come in for lots of focus recently for his slight form, huge heart and technical ability to master tackles of players two (three?) times his size.
The sweetest milestones are ones gained in front of a home crowd so Malcolm must be floating on air this morning as he relives his try over a hearty breakfast (see the video for that sweet moment).
Before the match it was interesting to watch the different photographers decide which end of the field to populate for that vital first picture of that first try by any team. Most went to the tryline that the Sunwolves would be aiming for.
I elected to haunt the tryline that the Southern Kings would be aiming for – based on these factors:
- In previous Super Rugby games the Southern Kings scored first
- The Southern Kings ‘voodoo’ as they have always had points scored against them in the dying minutes
I am a bit partisan when it comes to my rugby
- A deep desire to be proven RIGHT.
And, I was RIGHT – as all the action happened down my end – a missed try by Jurgen Visser in the opening minutes, followed by a try a few minutes later from Steven Sykes and then the heart stopping moment of joy for young Malcolm Jaer as he flew over the tryline for his first Super Rugby try ever!
The first half was full of action as the two bottom of the log teams cut, parried and thrust to get some vital points in the one match that would lift one above the other on the log. At the end of the first half the teams were close on 23-20 with the Southern Kings in the lead.
The second half only came to life in the closing minutes as the two fly halves exchanged penalty kicks. Fouche and Pisi added a penalty each as the Southern Kings held onto a slender three point lead with two minutes remaining, 26 – 23.
Replacement Elgar Watts scored in the 78th minute and Fouche was spot on with the conversion as they took a 33 – 23 lead – and I thought that the ‘voodoo; was finally broken.
Not to be outdone the Sunwolves threw everything at the Southern Kings, with a minute remaining and managed to score their fourth try of the game in the left hand corner – this ‘voodoo’ is one that seems to haunt the Southern Kings who have had points scored against them in the dying minutes of every Super Rugby game so far. The conversion was missed taking the final score to 33 – 28 to the home side.
After the hooter had blown and the ball was still in play the Southern Kings went a long way to beating the ‘voodoo’ with a great move – unfortunately Stefan Watermeyer lost the ball and was out as he crossed the tryline.
Man of the Match: Edgar Marutlulle
- Southern Kings (23) 33 – Tries: Steven Sykes, Malcolm Jaer, Shane Gates, Elgar Watts. Conversions: Fouche (2). Penalties: Fouche (2).
- Sunwolves (20) 28 – Tries: Shota Horie, Timothy Bond, Tusi Pisi, Akihito Yamada. Conversion: Pisi. Penalties: Pisi (2)
Southern Kings Team:
- Southern Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole
- Substitutes: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jaco van Tonder
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