The Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs faltered in their attempts to make a strong statement at home in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend, with both sides succumbing to their third defeats this season.
The Isuzu Southern Kings tried hard to make their presence felt in their first home game in Port Elizabeth against Ulster on Sunday, but their high penalty count, lack of possession – particularly in the first half – and mistakes at crucial times saw them go down 28-7.
Deon Davids’ men showed commitment on defence, and they won several turnovers at vital times close to their tryline as the Irish side ran hard on attack, which resulted in the visitors scoring only three penalty goals in the first half.
But three second-half tries by Ulster – the last of which was on the stroke of fulltime – to add to their 9-0 halftime lead steered them to victory.
The Isuzu Southern Kings, in turn, struggled with their finishing, which saw them score only one try compliments of a rolling maul, despite working their way close to the tryline on a handful of occasions.
On Saturday in Bloemfontein, the Glasgow Warriors out-classed the Toyota Cheetahs 52-24.
The hosts built up an encouraging 19-14 lead at the break with their enterprising play and good finishing earning them three tries, despite the Scots boasting 62% possession. But a yellow card for Malcolm Jaer early in the second half disrupted their momentum, and they battled to recover from it.
The Glasgow Warriors scored three tries while the Toyota Cheetahs were reduced to 14 men, and they continued to show their class as the match progressed, creating try-scoring chances at will and pouncing on the opposition’s mistakes. This allowed them increase their try tally to seven for their 52 points.
Franco Smith’s men managed to salvage a bonus point for tries in the second half as Jaer crossed the chalk for his second try, but the team’s porous defence and a few missed opportunities on attack came at the cost of their third defeat of the season.
In the other matches, Munster thumped Ospreys 34-13 in Cork, Edinburgh defeated Connacht 17-10 at home, Leinster registered a comprehensive 52-10 win against the Dragons in Dublin, the Scarlets overcame Benetton Rugby 38-29 in Llanelli, and Zebre Rugby Club pipped the Cardiff Blues 26-24 in Parma.
Guinness PRO14 Round 3 results and scorers (click on the hyperlink for the full scoresheet):
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Nico Lee, William Small-Smith, Malcolm Jaer (2). Conversions: Tian Schoeman, Benhard Janse van Rensburg.
Glasgow Warriors – Tries: Callum Gibbins, Ali Price (2), Adam Hastings, DTH Van Der Merwe, Tommy Seymour, George Horne. Conversions: Adam Hastings (7). Penalty Goal: Adam Hastings.
Isuzu Southern Kings – Try: Michael Willemse. Conversions: Masixole Banda.
Ulster – Tries: Marcell Coetzee, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan. Conversions: Billy Burns, Peter Nelson. Penalty Goals: John Cooney (3).