The bubble burst for the Southern Kings as Australia’s leading team, the Brumbies, managed a 19-10 victory in their Super Rugby match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
The Eastern Cape team had been riding high after three straight wins, including a first-ever win over a South African franchise in the shape of the Sharks last week, but it was not to be against their Aussie foes.
The Canberra side enjoyed far too much territory and possession and were deserved winners.
But the Kings had the perfect start to the game with a penalty try.
Brumbies fullback Tom Banks tackled Kings wing Makazole Mapimpi early after a Lionel Cronjé kick-ahead, and a try that surely would have been scored resulted in a seven-pointer for the home team after just five minutes.
When Cronjé nudged a penalty over not long after, the home side were 10-0 in front. That was just about all the dominance the Kings had in the opening 40 minutes, with the Australian team camping in the home side’s half.
They had some reward when hooker Josh Mann-Rea was on the end of a lineout drive over the line, but those points were it for the Brumbies in a first half that they completely dominated.
The Australian side’s try had originated from a yellow card against Kings prop Ross Geldenhuys (his fourth of the season), but otherwise, the visitors could not capitalise on their domination.
They seemed to have scored a try three minutes from halftime, but the TMO ruled that a Brumbies’ hand had pushed the ball forward in the process, and the Kings held on for a five-point lead at the interval.
In the second half, the Kings had more of the ball, but they made a hash of it in the 50th minute.
An attempted counter-attack saw poor passing resulting in Brumbies left wing Aidan Toua, scrambling the ball forward with the boot and falling over the line for the try.
Flyhalf Wharenui Hawera converted to give the Brumbies a 12-10 lead, and 10 minutes from time, the visitors went into a commanding advantage when outside centre Tevita Kuridrani pushed a grubber through for Tom Banks to score.
The Wharenui Hawera conversion made it a 19-10 scoreline for the Aussies with seven minutes to go, and the Kings simply had no reply as they fell to defeat.
KINGS – 10
Try: Penalty Try (3)
Penalties: Lionel Cronje (16)
BRUMBIES – 19
Tries: Josh Mann-Rea (21),Aidan Toua (63),Thomas Banks (70)
Cons: Wharenui Hawera (64,71)
Kings: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Alshaun Bock, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (c), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Nicolaas Hanekom
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (c), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-rea, 1 Ben Alexander
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Muirhead, 23 Andrew Smith
Date: Saturday, May 20
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)