Kings put six past lacklustre Melbourne Rebels
1 May, 2017, 12:00 am
PORT ELIZABETH – Southern Kings won back-to-back Super Rugby matches for the first time and achieved a record victory margin by trouncing Melbourne Rebels 44-3 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
While the Australians offered token resistance, especially in the second half after trailing 11-3 at half-time, it was an impressive show from the South Africans.
Victory for the Kings came a week after the traditional whipping boys among the six South African Super Rugby sides shocked the Waratahs in Sydney.
The Kings scored five tries during the second half at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and winger Makazole Mapimpi was a deserved winner of the man of the match award.
Our minds were focused on the pitch,” said Kings skipper and flyhalf Lionel Cronje, referring to their likely end-of-season axing from the competition.
South Africa must shed two of their franchises as Super Rugby reduces from 18 sides to 15 next season and the Kings and Cheetahs are expected to be the victims.
Australia have to chop either the Rebels or the Perth-based Western Force.
The Rebels were not helped by the early ankle injury to Mick Snowden at scrumhalf and with no No.9 on the bench following the late withdrawal of skipper Nic Stirzaker they struggled for cohesion and structure in attack.
“This was a phenomenal effort by the guys,” added Cronje. “We are playing for each other and it shows on the scoreboard.”
Rebels skipper and flanker Colby Fainga’a admitted that his team would have to face some “hard truths” when they review the match.
“We were not good enough,” he admitted as a mini-revival that brought a win over the Brumbies and a draw with the Sharks ended.
Mapimpi set up fellow winger Wandile Mjekevu for the only try of the opening half and Cronje kicked two penalties.
When fullback Reece Hodge slotted a penalty on 29 minutes to cut the deficit to five points, he could not have imagined that would be the only Rebels score.
Hooker Martin Bezuidenhout, flanker Tyler Paul, substitute flyhalf Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Mapimpi and full-back Masixole Banda scored second-half tries for the Kings.
The Kings have a bye next weekend while the Rebels tackle the strongest South African side, the Lions at AAMI Park.
Results: Southern Kings 44
Tries: Mjekevu, Bezuidenhout, Paul, Mapimpi, Banda, De Wet. Cons: Cronje 1, de Wet 3. Pens: Cronje 2. Melbourne Rebels 3. Tries: 0. Cons: 0. Pens: Hodge.
n WORLD RUGBY