It was an encouraging weekend for the South African teams in the Guinness PRO14, as the Isuzu Southern Kings (bottom of the log in Conference B) earned their first win of the season against the Glasgow Warriors (top of the log in Conference A) at the Nelson Mandela University Stadium on Saturday 21 September, while the Toyota Cheetahs registered a draw in an inspiring change of fortunes after slow starts to the competition.
The home side ran hard on attack and made good use of their chances, which saw them cross the tryline three times in the first half, and twice more after the break to increase their tally to five.
The Kings were 31-0 up before the Warriors registered their presence on the scoreboard with Nick Grigg running a hard line to score.
The Glasgow Warriors – who suffered their first defeat of the season – in turn, battled to make their presence felt early on, but staged a dramatic comeback late in the game, and finished strongly to earn their bonus-point try in the dying seconds.
Glasgow coach Dave Rennie said the 38-28 loss to Southern Kings, which ended their unbeaten start, was the worst performance of his time in charge.
Warriors were 24-0 down by half-time and shipped five tries to a side that lost 20 of their 21 games last season.
“We didn’t defend well enough or work hard enough defensively. We didn’t treasure the ball and we know they can hurt you when you do that. We lost all the key races. In the end we found ourselves a helluva long way back. “We were a long way off it today, but maybe it’s a good lesson. We had to wait about 11 months last year to find that out. “We need to be far more urgent. We need to be better in all departments, with and without the ball, because anyone can roll anyone in this competition,” concluded Rennie.
Isuzu Southern Kings 38 (24) Glasgow Warriors 28 (0)
- Isuzu Southern Kings – Tries: Yaw Penxe, Martin du Toit (2), Poerie van Rooyen, Harlon Klaasen. Conversions: Masixole Banda (5). Penalty Goal: Masixole Banda.
- Glasgow Warriors – Tries: Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe (2), Fraser Brown. Conversions: Adam Hastings (4).
After 4 matches for all sides in the PR14, the Kings win moves them up a place in Conference B to 6th place on 7 points – one place above Edinburgh Rugby in 7th place with 6 points.
In Bloemfontein on Friday, a try on the stroke of fulltime by Ulster’s Henry Speight and a successful conversion by Billy Burns saw the Toyota Cheetahs settle for a 39-39 draw, despite out-scoring the visitors five tries to four. Two penalty goals by Burns, who had a solid day with the boot, proved productive on the scoreboard in the end.
The Toyota Cheetahs delivered their best attacking performance of the season, but handling errors and costly decision-making at times denied them from earning their first victory. Franco Smith’s charges, however, will draw confidence from the performance, which earned them three points, and ended Ulster’s winning run.
In the other matches, the Cardiff Blues defeated Munster 37-13 at Cardiff Arms Park, Connacht outplayed the Scarlets 33-20 in Galway, the Dragons beat Zebre 16-5 in Newport, Leinster overpowered Edinburgh 31-7 in Dublin, and Ospreys defeated Benetton 27-10 in Swansea.
Guinness PRO14 Round 4 results and scorers:
Toyota Cheetahs 39 (17) Ulster 39 (14)
- Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Gerhard Olivier, William Small-Smith, Joseph Dweba, Jacques Du Toit, Sibahle Maxwane. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3), Louis Fouché. Penalty Goals: Tian Schoeman, Louis Fouché.
- Ulster – Tries: Dave Shanahan (2), Johnny Stewart, Henry Speight. Conversions: Billy Burns (3). Penalty Goals: Billy Burns (2).