Southern Kings show character in first friendly against Lions

Feb 9 • National, South Africa • 2154 Views • Comments Off on Southern Kings show character in first friendly against Lions

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The Southern Kings showed grit and determination, despite losing to the MTN Lions in their first friendly at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg this afternoon.

The final score saw the Southern Kings down 10 points to the MTN Lions, losing 41 to 31 after ending the first half with just seven points to the Lions 22.

The Kings showed true grit and determination throughout the game though, with their solid defence constantly being tested as the Lions held onto possession.

The Lions were first on the scoreboard, with fullback Marnitz Boshoff succeeding with a penalty conversion on his second attempt at goal in the 16th minute. Four minutes later the Kings retaliated, with Rynier Bernado taking a try close to the sideline and flyhalf Wesley Dunlop converting, giving the Kings the lead.

The Kings lead was short lived though, as the Lions notched up their attack and placed three tries in the next 20 minutes.

The Lions first try came 23 minutes in, as they advanced to within five metres of the tryline before Hendrik Roodt picked up the ball, and dived over, with Boschoff converting.

Ten minutes later the Lions scored again, this time as a result of some smooth distribution and fancy handwork, with JJ Breedt putting the ball down in the right hand corner.

In retaliation the Kings chased down their kick in, with the talented Siyanda Grey picking up the ball and running it over the tryline, but the try was disallowed by referee Marius Jonker.

The Lions retaliated with their third try, by Prop Ruan Dreyer, in the last five minutes of the first half on the back of a massive driving maul off a lineout, with Boschoff converting to take the score to 22-7 before the break.

The Kings returned to the field in the second half determined to even the score and produced a spirited display against the Lions.

Kings however are soon a man down after vice captain Wayne Stevens is yellow carded, which is followed by a try being awarded to Lions Hendrik Roodt after being referred to TMO. Try converted by Boschoff to take the game to 27- 7.

The Kings gained momentum after gaining possession, with a beautiful lineout taken by Daniel Adongo and a pass through to Johan Herbst who scored the first of his two tries of the game after breaking through the Lions defence. An easy conversion by Dunlop took the score to 27 – 14.

A second high tackle by the Lions earned them an official warning, with penalty to the Kings. Dunlop’s replacement, George Whitehead took a kick for the sticks but missed. Tomas Leonardi is then yellow carded for not releasing player after tackle.

The Lions put an additional 7 points on the board with another driving maul, with a try awarded to Warwick Tecklenburg and conversion by Lionel Cronje.

This was followed by the Kings going on the offensive, bringing the points difference to just three points as first Johan Herbst and then Hadleigh Parkes scored, while Whitehead converting Parkes try and kicked a penalty, bringing the score to 34 to 31.

In the final minutes of the game, the Lions drove over the tryline again, with Tecklenburg being awarded his second try in a controversial move with some questioning whether a maul had been formed as the Kings players had not engaged.

The call was dismissed by Jonker and the try was converted, bringing the final score to Lions 41 to Kings 31 at full time.

Kings captain Darron Nell said he was proud of the team, especially the young players who had come through from the Kings Academy, who had put their hands up to take part in the Super Rugby season, which starts with the game against Western Force on the 23rd of February.

“There were definitely a couple of players who put up their hands this afternoon. It was a very good performance,” he said.

Director of Rugby Alan Solomons praised the team and echoed Nell’s assessment.

“We need to commend David Maidza and Robbi Kempson, who had travelled with the team and assisted in the preparations for the game,” he said.

Solomons said the players had shown an amazing amount of character during the game.

“When you consider that this team flew up on the day and arrived in Johannesburg a mere three hours before the match, and were able to perform the way they did, they have done exceptionally well,” he said.

Solomons said he believed that the failure to award Grey’s try had been a 14 point turnaround, in that the opposition had then used the penalty to get a corner kick and scored.

“It was encouraging seeing our younger academy players, the likes of Lizo Gqoboko and Reynier Bernado, showing that they have what it takes and putting up their hands to play at Super Rugby level,” he said.

Solomons also commended the leadership displayed by Darron Nell, Mpho Mbiyozo and Wayne Stevens.

“Overall, we also showed that we were fitter and lasted longer, despite having flown up and played at altitude, and we need to commend our strength and conditioning, Johan Pretorius and consultant Steve McIntyre for the work they have done.”

“We have taken a lot from this game, and yes our lineouts still need a bit of work, and we can improve on our scrimmaging and stemming the maul, but what we saw was unbelievable character and overall, a very positive performance,” he said.


Tries: Hendrik Roodt (2), JJ Breet, Ruan Dreyer, Warwick Tecklenburg (2)
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3), Lionel Cronje
Penalty: Boshoff

Tries: Rynier Bernardo, Johan Herbst (2), Hadleigh Parkes
Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (3), George Whitehead
Penalty: Whitehead


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