As they have done in the last two Super Rugby matches, when the Kings started by racing into the lead, the Southern Kings raced to a shock 10-0 lead against the Crusaders in New Zealand this morning, but in the end they were no match for the Crusaders as they slipped to a 57-24 loss in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Southern Kings opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a penalty slotted by Louis Fouche.
Three minutes later and bouyed by the lead Southern Kings winger, Luzuko Vulindlu intercepted on the halfway line and ran halfway to score – a succesful conversion put the Southern Kings 10 points up.
The reply from the Crusaders was quick as winger Johnny McNicholl replied with a try converted by flyhalf Richie Mo’unga. More tries from Ben Funnel, Nemani Nadolo and conversions from Mo’unga ended the first half in favour of the Crusaders 29-10.
In the second half the Southern Kings 14 points came from: Edgar Marutlulle who scored his third try of the series in the 53rd minute after the Southern Kings got the ball from the throw in and broke through the Crusaders’ defence for Marutlulle to dot down – converted by Fouche; In the 66th minute the ball was received by the Kings forward pack just short of the line and the clean out started a passage of passing that finally resulted in flanker Chris Cloete scoring and another successful conversion for Fouche.
But things do not go swimmingly for Chris Cloete as he received a Yellow Card in the 75th minute which the Crusaders took full advantage of to send Peter Samu over for his first try.
The hosts scored 8 tries to 3 from the Kings, and they were never really tested despite conceding an early intercept try as Luzuko Vulindlu gave the Kings hope early on.
The Kings showed a lot of fight throughout the encounter, but the differences in class was clear.
The result means that the Kings have now lost all three of their fixtures so far this season, while the Crusaders have won two and lost one.
Crusaders 57 (29) – Tries: Nemani Nadolo (2), Johnny McNicholl, Ben Funnell, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Jone Macilai-Tori, Peter Samu. Conversions: Mo”unga (4), Ben Volavola (3) Penalties: Mo’unga
Kings 24 (10) – Tries: Luzuko Vulindlu, Edgard Marutlulle, Chris Cloete. Conversion: Louis Fouche (3). Penalty: Louis Fouche
Crusaders: 15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Jone Macilai
Kings: 15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Luzuko Vulindlu, 13. Stefan Watermeyer, 12. Shane Gates, 11. Malcolm Jaer, 10. Louis Fouche, 9. Kevin Luiters, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. JC Astle, 4. Steven Sykes (captain), 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Martin Ferreira, 1. Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Sti Sithole, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Schalk Oelofse, 20. CJ Velleman, 21. Ntando Kebe, 22. Elgar Watts, 23. JP Du Plessis