Finally...Kings break their Euro duck
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Luzuko Vulindlu scored two tries as the Southern Kings recorded their first ever win in the competition, with a 45-13 victory over the Dragons.
The visitors led 10-0 thanks to a try from Dorian Jones but the Kings, who had lost all of their other league games this season, turned on the style with Vulindlu at the heart of everything they did.
He scored their first try of the match, while there were further efforts for Masixole Banda, Ruaan Lerm, Anthony Volmink and Bobby de Wee.
They stay bottom of Conference B but have closed the gap between them and the Dragons ahead of their next game against Benetton Rugby.
With the cold weather forcing all of the PRO14 games in Europe to be called off, there were extra eyes on the Kings and Dragons.
And the away side made a fast start with kicker Jones sending a penalty sailing through the posts in the opening few minutes.
The Kings struggled to break down the Dragons’ stubborn defence, although full-back Banda was a menace every time he galloped forward.
However, it was the Dragons who scored the first try of the match with flyhalf Jones sprinting through after a neat off-load ten metres from the tryline.
That sparked the Kings into life and they scored their first try of the match just eight minutes before the break.
With a line-out five metres from the line, the forwards sucked Dragons defenders in and Vulindlu burst through from close range.
Jones slotted through another Dragons penalty but the Kings had the momentum and the lead at the break.
Banda beat two defenders before kicking ahead and the ball bounced kindly for him to score.
The Dragons were shell-shocked and the Kings maintained their intensity after the break with a stunning length-of-the-field try.
Kurt Coleman was the architect, evading two tackles in his own 22 before sprinting clear and supplying Vulindlu to run in unopposed.
A bonus point was secured shortly after as De Wee counter-rucked superbly in the Dragons’ 22 and when the ball went wide No.8 Lerm was left with a simple finish.
The Dragons dominated territory and possession in the second half but could not break through the Kings’ stubborn defence.
And they were picked off again before the end as Volmink touched down the Kings’ fifth try of the night before De Wee bulldozed over for his first career try.
For Southern Kings:
Tries: Vulindlu 2, Banda, Lerm, Volmink, De Wee
Cons: Coleman 6
Pens: Jones 2
Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Anthonie Volmink, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Luvuyo Pupuma, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Andries van Schalkwyk, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Jacques Nel
Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Jarryd Sage, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Dan Babos, 8 Lewis Evans (c), 7 James Benjamin, 6 Harri Keddie, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Liam Belcher, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Ellis Shipp, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Max Williams, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Connor Edwards, 23 Rio Dyer
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)