'Good signs' for South African Pro14 sides
REACTION: Following the Pro14 South African derby between Cheetahs and Southern Kings it seems like both sides walked away with only positive notes.
With the scores level following a Kings penalty try, a last-gasp try from Luan de Bruin sealed a dramatic win the Cheetahs.
But it could have been an all too different story for the Cheetahs prop after he was sent to the sin-bin eight minutes from time for collapsing the scrum, before returning to the fray to bomb over the try line.
The victory for the Cheetahs sealed an eighth consecutive victory against the Kings and cut the deficit on Cardiff Blues down to six points with a game in hand.
The encounter is one of three South African derby matches as the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs catch up on their Pro14 schedule.
The teams will face off in Port Elizabeth at Madibaz Stadium with the return game in Bloemfontein slated for February 2.
“I thought we were good in the first half – for that first 10 minutes, especially – when we tried to keep the pressure on,” said Cheetahs head coach Smith.
“However, we were our own worst enemies when we started to make a lot of errors.
“But in saying that, the spirit that the Kings played with was exceptional. That is typical of South African rugby and particularly typical of a derby, and we expected that.”
Rabz Maxwane posted the first points on the board for the visitors, but the Kings fought back after the break through Ntabeni Dukisa’s try and Masixole Banda’s conversion.
Junior Pokomela immediately responded before Banda and Benhard Janse van Rensburg traded penalties.
But when the hosts clinched a penalty try eight minutes from time, both sides were level and fighting to clinch the all-important winner until De Bruin struck and Louis Fouche converted.
Despite the defeat, Kings head coach Deon Davids remained positive looking ahead to the rest of the campaign with a host of first-team trailblazers returning from injury.
“Luckily, we tried to fight back, and I can applaud the guys for that,” he said.
“We worked really hard on our defence the past couple of weeks, and we saw much improvement in that department – one on one tackles were a lot better, and our tracking improved.
“When there was a line break, I thought the guys scrambled extremely well.
“I thought in our loose-forwards CJ Velleman was exceptional on the ball and slowed the opposition down to give us time to settle and get our defensive line in order for the next phases.
“If you have players like that getting some form back, it’s good to see. We have Henry Brown and Andisa Ntsila coming back from injury – these are good signs, hopefully, we can just keep on working to get that upward curve going.”
Video Credit: devinZA