On Saturday 29 April, the Southern Kings hosted the Melbourne Rebels as part of the 2017 Super Rugby Season. The Kings, fresh off their first ever victory over the Waratahs in Sydney the previous week, were looking to make their home ground advantage count to pick up their second consecutive win against Australian opposition in this year’s competition.
In cool conditions, the match kicked off under the bright lights of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with both teams showing early intent to improve their respective seasons. The Kings scored the first points of the match in the form of a penalty from captain Lionel Cronje within the first five minutes.
The Kings added to their score by scoring the first try of the match, which came as Cronje put a grubber in behind the Rebels defensive line, which was gathered by Wandile Mjekevu who scored in the corner. Cronje failed to convert the wide conversion, resulting in the score remaining 8-0 in favour of the home side.
The cool conditions had an impact on both sides, as they both squandered promising attacking opportunities due to poor handling. Both teams tested the opposition under the high ball, as they both sent early kicks deep into the opposition half.
The Rebels managed to get onto the score sheet midway through the first half as Reece Hodge slotted over a penalty from the 22m. The Kings now held a narrow 8-3 lead over the visitors.
Cronje responded five minutes later with a penalty of his own from a similar position, allowing the hosts to go back out to an eight-point lead. The Kings lead 11-3 with six minutes left to play in the first half. The Kings managed to weather the storm of the Rebels attack and hold out their 11-3 lead until half time.
The Kings started off the second half in cracking fashion as a breakaway from Mkazole Mapimpi eventually lead to Martin Bezuidenhout crashing over the line for the home side. Cronje made no mistake in converting, taking the Kings out to an 18-3 lead in the opening two minutes of the half.
With both teams fighting for the ascendency in the second half, the Kings managed to score after a fumbled lineout from the Rebels was collected by Louis Schreuder who put Tyler Paul away for the try. Pieter-Steyn de Wet missed the conversion from oit wide, and the score went out to 23-3 in the home side’s favour.
The Kings started to punish the Rebels’ poor defence with multiple line breaks, ultimately resulting in a great team try scored by De Wet. De Wet converted his own try and the kings extended their lead to 30-3 over the struggling visitors.
Mapimpi produced some flair of his own for the Kings a couple of minutes later, when he crossed over in the corner after making a break up the sideline. De Wet slotted the wide angled conversion, taking the home side to an emphatic 37-3 lead over the Rebels.
With the match all but over, Masixole Banda summed up the King’s second half performance with a magnificent try in the 80th minute. De Wet added the extras and the final whistle blew with the Kings dominating to run out a 44-3 victory over their Australian counterparts.
This emphatic victory is the King’s second consecutive victory over Australian opposition in 2017, and has shown that the Southern Kings can play confident and attractive rugby.
Tries: Wandile Mjekevu, Martin Bezuidenhout, Tyler Paul, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Makazole Mapimpi, Masixole Banda
Conversions: Lionel Cronje, Pieter-Steyn de Wet x3
Penalties: Lionel Cronje x2
Penalties: Reece Hodge