The Southern Kings came desperately close to achieving back-to-back wins in the GUINNESS PRO14 Championship but it was ultimately not to be as they went down by a single point to Benetton Treviso at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Each team scored five tries in a thriller that the Italians edged 36-35 after leading 26-21 at halftime.
After a slow start the Kings found themselves 12-0 down after just 10 minutes but then hit back with converted tries by Luzuko Vulindlu and Godlen Masimla to lead 14-12. Two more Benetton scores were answered by Ruaan Lerm going over for the Kings who also unfortunately lost flyhalf Kurt Coleman to a serious knee injury just before halftime. Coleman was replaced by Martin Du Toit.
The second-half saw Benetton add a try and a penalty whilst the Kings were awarded a penalty try and also had man-of-the-match Berton Klaasen go over for their bonus point try.
Speaking post-match Southern Kings Head Coach bemoaned his side’s slow start to the game and said it had forced them into playing catch-up rugby. “I’m really disappointed with the result and, with all due respect to Benetton, I think this was a game that we lost more than what they won. Our concentration was poor at the start and we let them get away and thereafter we just made too many basic and fundamental errors, like kicks not finding touch for instance. That allowed the opposition to stay in the game” he said.
“I also thought Kurt Coleman was playing well for us and losing him during the first half also didn’t help our cause,” he added.
Coleman was forced from the field in the 34th minute of the first half and there was some grim news regarding his condition from Southern Kings team doctor Lizanne Pieterse this morning when she revealed that the flyhalf and playmaker had suffered a fracture to his lower left leg.
“Kurt was operated on on Sunday morning. The operation was without complications and he is recovering well but will unfortunately be out of action for six months as a result,” said Dr Pieterse.
The doctor also advised that wing Anthony Volmink had not yet recovered from an injury to his left knee and would not be available for the Kings next match against Munster.
That fixture takes place at Outeniqua Park in George on Saturday, 7 April and a full day of entertainment has been arranged that includes a fixture between local clubs Evergreens and Progress as curtain raiser. Tickets are available from TicketPro outlets as well as www.ticketpros.co.za.