Brumbies win as Kings run out of steam
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Brumbies ended the Southern Kings' dream run when they beat then 19-10 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
After three consecutive victories, the Kings became the first South African or New Zealand team to lose to the Brumbies.
The Canberra outfit succeeded where the Melbourne Rebels, Waratahs, Reds and Western Force failed by securing an abundance of possession throughout.
Despite dominating both possession (to the tune of almost 60 percent) and territory (more than 70 percent) the Brumbies trailed on the scoreboard for 63 minutes.
However, two converted tries in the final quarter - as the massive defensive effort started taking its toll on the home team - saw the Brumbies come back from 5-10 down to win.
In the end the Kings made three times the number of tackles that the visitors did.
Wing Aidan Toua dotted down on 64 minutes and fullback Tom Banks atoned for being yellow-carded by scoring in the same corner seven minutes later.
The result marked a turnaround for both sides with Brumbies winning for only the second time in six games and Kings losing for the first time in four matches.
Although both teams have won four games this season and lost seven, they occupy very different positions in the conference standings.
Brumbies top the Australian table by seven points from the Reds with four rounds remaining and are on course for the quarterfinals.
Kings are bottom of the Africa Two log, 32 points adrift of 2016 Super Rugby runners-up the Lions from Johannesburg.
"It is a great achievement to be the first Australian winners in South Africa this year," said Brumbies skipper and Wallabies lock Sam Carter.
"We travelled from Canberra with a winning mindset and let us hope it continues in Argentina next weekend against the Jaguares.
"In recent matches we secured lots of possession without translating it into points, so this marked a nice change for us.
"I wondered early in the second half if we were going to fail again as the Kings kept repelling our attacks, but all the pressure finally paid off."
Kings skipper and flyhalf Lionel Cronje, whose 63rd-minute substitution surprised many at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, hailed a "valiant effort" by his team.
"We were working off scraps of possession and were unable to keep the Brumbies at bay in the closing stages.
"I am so disappointed that we could not extend our winning run to four matches in front of a great crowd."
A penalty try - worth seven points in Super Rugby - got Kings off to a flying start and reduced Brumbies to 14 men with Banks sin-binned for tackling a man without the ball.
Cronje slotted a penalty on 17 minutes for a 10-point lead, but it was the last time the hosts scored.
Brumbies took advantage of Kings prop Ross Geldenhuys being yellow-carded for the fourth time this season when hooker Josh Mann-Rea scored off a rolling maul.
A brilliant kick into space by scrumhalf Joe Powell set up Toua for his try and fly-half Wharenui Hawera converted to put the Australians 12-10 ahead.
Banks won a race for possession to score spectacularly and Hawera converted again to close the scoring.
Man of the match: Lionel Cronje was good, for the largest part of his stay on the field and Makazole Mapimpi was threatening on attack. Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani were powerful with the ball in hand, while Scott Fardy and Sam Carter did plenty of hard graft up front. However, the man that pulled the strings and got his team in the right areas on the field was Brumbies flyhalf Wharenui Hawera - our man of the match.
For the Southern Kings:
Try: Penalty try,
Con: Penalty try does not require a conversion,
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Mann-Rea, Toua, Banks
Yellow cards: Tom Banks (Brumbies, 2 - cynical foul, early tackle), Ross Geldenhuys (Southern Kings, 20 - repeated infringements, collapsing the maul)
Southern Kings: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Alshaun Bock, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 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 (captain), 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.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)