By MZWANDILE SIBANDA
Eastern Cape supporters came in their numbers to watch a 14-man Connacht clinch a win against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth last weekend
Directly after match kick-off on 1 March, the Kings made a poor pass into a Connacht player’s line of play and he ran less than 50 metres to score the first try of the game. The Kings hit back with a quick response from their skilful backline and crossed Connacht’s try line. However, after being reviewed, the TMO Decision was to disallow the try.
Minutes later, a physical Connacht side made ground using their forwards. After many phases, the men in green scored. Frustrated supporters shouted “C’mon boys!”. The game was deadlocked for 22 minutes. The Kings broke their try deficit and the crowd cheered as two minutes later, a confident Kings side utilised their physical backline and broke through Connacht to score under the poles.
The score was tied 14-14 for 10 minutes. The Kings and Connacht went head to head as they attempted to break the deadlock. Each side had many opportunities but lack of execution let them down. An Ill-disciplined Kings gave a penalty to Connacht. Their kicker kicked from distance and the linesmen raised the flags as he converted the kick.
Kings were on the back foot and they went into the halftime break under pressure.
Several minutes into the second half, Connacht made a superb attacking effort and scored a try. Poor lineouts and knock-ons from the Kings left them very frustrated. They couldn’t not get past Connacht’s 22 metre line. After a great effort from the Kings, they crossed over Connacht’s tryline and the game was now 19-22.
During scrum time, the Kings gave Connacht a tough time. The referee penalised Connacht for illegal scrummaging. The Kings were formidable on defence. After a consistent effort, Connacht was awarded a penalty try.
The Kings were trailing in the last 10 minutes of the game, as the score was now 19-29. The crowd cheered the Kings on as they were parked in Connacht’s 22 area, but to no avail. As the horn blew, Connacht kicked the ball out and the game ended 19-29.