Heartbreak for Kings in 12-try thriller
Brenden Nel
November 04, 2017

It was heartbreak for the Southern Kings as a late try saw Irish club Ulster win their Guinness Pro14 clash against the Eastern Cape side 43-37 in a humdinger of a game at the Wolfson stadium in Zwide on Saturday.

Ex-South African Robbie Diack scored the crucial try in the 75th minute as the sides traded blows in an entertaining game that showed just how competitive the Southern Kings could be at home.

The Kings surprised all and sundry by starting with a bang, leading 12-0 early on, and 22-10 at the break, but as the game went on Ulster grew in stature and the Kings started to fade, with several desperate defensive efforts keeping them in the game.

Still, the heart and fight was impressive, although being outgunned on paper and later on in the game, the Kings never gave up, and like in Super Rugby look like a team that will play better and better as they continue their journey under coach Deon Davids.

In the end Ulster scored seven tries to five on a windy afternoon where kicking was an afterthought for both sides and deserved their victory.

But it is hard not to feel for the performance of the Kings, whose exuberance was worth more than just a few points and almost got them home in the end.

The Irishmen were shocked early on when first Berton Klaassen twisted his way over after three minutes and then Oliver Zone stabbed through a grubber that bounced up perfectly for Yaw Penxe.

Ulster drew level with two well worked tries – the first by Sean Reidy coming from a break by Christian Lealiifano from within his own 22, and followed eight minutes later by John Andrew from a rolling maul to make things 12-all close to the halfhour mark.

They almost had a third but a final pass was intercepted in spectacular fashion by winger Michael Makase, who kicked ahead and then beat Charles Piutau in a magnificent sprint to dot the ball down 60 metres downfield in a desperate dive.

Penxe received a yellow for trying to intercept a ball on his own line, which if it went past him would have been a try, but Ulster couldn’t capitalise.

It took 10 minutes in the second half before John Andrew got his second from a driving maul, and then they drew level again when Piutau attacked blindside, beat two tackles and sent John Cooney away to score.

Klaassen grabbed his second, again powering his way over from close range on the hour mark, but his joy was short lived as Ulster hit back five minutes later as winger Andrew Trimble found space to run in under the posts.

Clive Ross put them ahead with nine minutes to go by bashing over from close range, but the Kings wouldn’t lie down, with Penxe bringing them level again as the clock ticked down.

Piutau though showed some magic again, making the metres upfield to put Diack over for the telling try.

The Kings had tried valiantly but they were outgunned in the second half. They continue to improve though and considering they were a completely new team of discards a few weeks ago, things can only get better for them.


Southern Kings – tries: Berton Klaasen (2), Yaw Penxe (2), Michael Makase. Conversions: Oliver Zono (3), Kurt Coleman. Penalty: Zono.

Ulster – tries: John Andrew (2), Sean Reidy, John Cooney, Andrew Trimble, Clive Ross, Robbie Diack. Conversions: John Cooney (2). Christian Lealiifano (2).

The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
Saturday, September 29 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
Saturday, October 06 2018
17:05 - South Africa vs New Zealand
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Castle Lager Outgoing Tour
Friday, November 02 2018
00:00 - England vs South Africa
Twickenham, London
Saturday, November 10 2018
00:00 - France vs South Africa
Stade de France, Paris
Saturday, November 17 2018
00:00 - Scotland vs South Africa
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday, November 24 2018
00:00 - Wales vs South Africa
Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Copyright - SA Rugby. All Rights Reserved - Photos by Gallo Images