Kings get pre-season off to winning start
The Southern Kings secured a confidence-boosting 28-10 victory against the Border Bulldogs in the first of their pre-season friendly match at Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday.
After an intense full pre-season training programme, Southern Kings coach Deon Davids and his coaching staff had an opportunity, for the first time, to assess how the players would fare in a match situation ahead of the start of the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
The squad responded with a comfortable 28-10 win against the fellow Eastern Capers, on the back of a successful team camp that was held in Port Alfred in the week leading up to the match.
The Southern Kings began the match at a high tempo and were rewarded with the opening try of the match as early as the fourth minute when speedy winger Malcolm Jaer blitzed over to dot down the first five-pointer. Flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa converted.
No further points were scored in the first half as the teams went into the break with the Southern Kings ahead 7-0.
On their return to the field, Border Bulldogs fielded 15 fresh legs who began the second half at an accelerated pace. The home team scored their first try of the match in the 42nd minute when No 8 Lukhanyo Siyobi barged over for an unconverted try.
The Southern Kings were dealt a double blow with back-to-back yellow cards, within a minute of each other, to loose-forwards Andisa Ntsila and Onke Dubase.
The side from Nelson Mandela Bay were not deflated, however, as they went on to score two tries through scrumhalf Johan Steyn and winger Makazole Mapimpi. The tries were converted by substitute No 10 Garrick Mattheus.
Border Bulldogs attempted a comeback when fullback Sonwabise Mqalo replied with the East London side’s second unconverted try of the game.
The Southern Kings ensured certain victory when prop Ross Geldenhuys dotted down the final try of the game. Mattheus converted his third of the evening.
The Southern Kings outscored Border Bulldogs with four converted tries to two unconverted by the home side.
“It was a hard week for us. The boys worked really hard during our camp leading into this game,” Southern Kings coach Deon Davids reflected.
“It was a really good game and good test for us. Border really did a lot of good things. We did start a bit scrappy, making unforced errors. We had a lot of opportunities in the opposition’s half that we did not finish. We just need to be a bit more patient and look after the ball.”
Captain for the game, Martin Bezuidenhout, added: “There were guys coming back from injuries and young guys coming through, we tried different combinations; so here and there we did not finish well, but we will fix that in the next three to four weeks before our first Vodacom Super Rugby game.”
The Southern Kings next face the SWD Eagles in the last of the pre-season friendlies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, 11 February. Kickoff will be 17h15.
The side will then begin their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign with a clash against Jaguares at home at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on 25 February.
Bulldogs: Tries: Lukhanyo Siyobi, Sonwabise Mqalo
Kings: Tries: Malcolm Jaer, Johan Steyn, Makazole Mapimpi, Ross Geldenhuys; Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa, Garrick Mattheus (3),