The Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs stumbled in their attempts to build momentum in the Guinness PRO14 in Wales this weekend, with the sides subsiding to defeats against the Scarlets and Cardiff Blues respectively.
The Isuzu Southern Kings put up a good fight in the first half against 2017 runners up, the Scarlets, to trail 21-14 at the break, with Bjorn Basson touching down twice for the visitors. But the Scarlets found their rhythm and ran riot on attack in second half in Saturday’s clash.
The Welsh outfit was in superb form thanks to the constructive interplay between their forwards and backs combined with their effective handling skills and support play, which saw seven players cross the chalk as they touched down eight times.
The Isuzu Southern Kings tried hard to contain them on defence, but the hosts’ skillful attack and rock solid defence, proved too much in the end.
In Friday’s clash, meanwhile, a penalty goal proved to be the difference on the scoreboard as the Cardiff Blues defeated the Toyota Cheetahs 24-21 in a nail-biting clash at Cardiff Arms Park. It was a scrappy affair though as both teams ran hard on attack and forced passes, which resulted in many unforced errors.
The visitors from Bloemfontein struck first with a try by Walt Steenkamp in the 18th minute, but the hosts retaliated with a converted try and penalty goal to enter the break 10-7 ahead.
The Free Staters bounced back strongly in the second half with back-to-back tries by Sibahle Maxwane and Benhard Janse Van Rensburg within nine minutes, which pushed them 21-10 ahead on the stroke of the fourth quarter.
But they were unable to build on this as the match progressed, while the Cardiff Blues, in turn, scored two tries in five minutes to claw their way into a 24-21 lead with 11 minutes to play – which they held onto to secure the win.
In the other matches, Edinburgh ground out a 31-30 home win against Benetton, Zebre went down 22-8 to Ospreys in Parma, Leinster registered a 20-3 win against Connacht in Galway, the Glasgow Warriors defeated the Dragons 29-13 in Glasgow, and Munster thumped Ulster 64-7in Limerick.
Guinness PRO14 Round 5 results and scorers (click on the hyperlink for the full scoresheet):
Scarlets – Tries: Jonathan Davies (2), Paul Asquith, Ioan Nicholas, Dan Davis, Simon Gardiner, Steff Evans, Kieran Hardy. Conversions: Rhys Patchell (5), Angus Obrien (2).
Isuzu Southern Kings – Tries: Bjorn Basson (2). Conversions: Masixole Banda (2).
Cardiff Blues – Tries: Rey Lee-lo, Lloyd Williams, Olly Robinson. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (3). Penalty Goal: Gareth Anscombe.
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Walt Steenkamp, Sibahle Maxwane, Benhard Janse Van Rensburg. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3).