A fired-up and competitive Southern Kings side made the Cell C Sharks work hard for our narrow 19-17 Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Growthpoint KINGS PARK on Saturday evening.
With the third consecutive win of this season, we also extended our 100% success record to five matches we have gone unbeaten in Super Rugby clashes against the team from Port Elizabeth.
Many changes made for this match, including a new front row featuring Lourens Adriaanse who earned his 50th cap Super Rugby cap and nearly scored the first try of the game when he was held up early on. There was also a debut for flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg, but the kicking duties went to fullback Curwin Bosch following his maestro performance with the boot last week and it was Bosch who added the first points of the game via the boot.
But in a first quarter that was proving difficult to get going, the Kings were first to score a try, with an attempted clearance being charged down and well-chased. With the conversion, they took an unlikely 7-3 lead.
But with the Kings down to 14 men with a yellow card, Adriaanse was the man in possession – perhaps by design –when we rolled over as the game approached the half hour mark. But the visitors weren’t to be outdone as they added a second try when the wing rounded the defence out wide and former Shark Lionel Cronje added his second conversion.
The half never really got into gear and it was the Kings who took a 14-8 lead into the half-time break.
The second half started on a positive note for the Cell C Sharks, a scrum penalty giving Bosch another shot at posts, which he converted well to reduce the deficit to just three points. But Cronje cancelled it out a few moments later following a lineout infringement.
With 15 minutes to go and our Cell C Sharks team chasing the lead and making some progress towards making that happen, Kobus van Wyk scored our second try following a quality build-up. In the process, Chris Cloete, the Kings’ flank who had made a real nuisance of himself, effectively defending and killing momentum, was carded for a no-arms tackle to possibly cause a major hiccup in his team’s fight for the victory.
As the game went into the final 10 minutes, Curwin Bosch showed why he is such a special talent, striking a monster penalty from 52m out to give us the lead.
It was a lead we would hold for the remainder of the game. There were anxious moments to negotiate when Cronje could have snatched the win for the Kings with a long range penalty from out wide, but his boot was marginally off-target and we held out the closing minutes, maintaining possession to run out victors.
Our next fixture takes place against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next Saturday.