Kings and Dragons draw in spiteful encounter
PRO14 REPORT: Josh Lewis held his nerve with a late penalty to earn the Dragons a share of the spoils in a dramatic 18-all draw with Southern Kings on Sunday.
In the spiteful battle at the bottom of Conference B in the Pro14, the Dragons came roaring out of the blocks as Adam Warren crossed and Lewis kicked a penalty.
But the hosts – whose only win over a Welsh region was against the Dragons in the same fixture last season – responded swiftly.
Stefan Ungerer went over and then created Bjorn Basson’s try – both of which went unconverted on a blustery day at the Madibaz Stadium.
The Kings led 13-8 at the break after a Bader Pretorius penalty and stretched their lead when Harlon Klaasen went over at the start of the second.
But back came the Dragons, replacement Jordan Williams dancing over for a fine solo score before the hour mark.
And in the final quarter, ill-discipline plagued the occasion as at one point both sides had two men each in the sin bin before Lewis held his nerve to slot a 78th-minute penalty and secure an 18-all draw.
The Dragons wait for a first away league win in four years goes on and the Kings stay a point ahead of them in the Conference standings.
The Dragons came roaring out of the blocks with some lovely offloading and had the game’s first try inside two minutes.
Lewis produced a clever dink into the corner and the bounce was kind, sitting up for Hallam Amos who offloaded to Warren to go over in the corner.
The try was a fine reward for Warren in a week that he also signed a new deal with the Dragons, although Lewis pulled the conversion on a blustery day in Port Elizabeth.
Lewis did add a penalty for an early 8-0 lead but gradually the Kings grew into the contest.
After a number of close-range burst to the line, eventually Ungerer showed good awareness to dive over the ruck and dot down.
Masixole Banda was off with the extras but a second try soon followed, Ungerer turning provider down the left wing with a clever grubber that sat up for Basson to go over.
Banda again missed the conversion but Pretorius did add a penalty before the break to open up a 13-8 lead.
SECOND HALF SALVO
The Dragons had been wasteful in the first half, Amos and Warren wasting a golden chance down the left before Rhodri Williams and Jack Dixon messed up a four on one down the right.
In the second period, they kept coming, turning down a kickable penalty to build the phases close to the Kings line.
But the hosts held them at bay and then struck up the other end, Klaasen bursting clear down the left to stretch the hosts’ lead to 18-8.
The Dragons needed a response and Jordan Williams provided it, coming off the bench and dancing his way through the middle for an amazing solo score.
Both front rows were then penalised as Leon Brown and Alulutho Tshakweni saw yellow, before Lloyd Fairbrother followed them into the bin for a dangerous clear out.
Michael Makase was not far behind for tackling Williams in the air and the Dragons thought they had hit the front soon after.
Amos got clear down the left and put Rhodri Williams over but it was ruled a forward pass from Jack Dixon in the build-up and the Kings survived, leading 18-15.
Scrums were uncontested with so many men in the bin, but when both sides came back to full complement the Dragons turned the screw at a scrum and won the penalty that Lewis slotted for a share of the spoils.
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Ungerer, Basson, Klaasen
For the Dragons:
Tries: Warren, Williams
Pens: Lewis 2
Yellow cards: Alulutho Tshakweni (Southern Kings, 58), Michael Makase (Southern Kings, 63), Leon Brown (Dragons, 58), Lloyd Fairbrother (61)
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Bader Pretorius, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 John-Charles Astle (captain), 4 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 Stephan De Wit, 21 Rudi Van Rooyen, 22 Berton Klaasen, 23 Ulrich Beyers.
Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Max Williams, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Richard Hibbard (captain), 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Huw Taylor, 20 Lennon Greggains, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Jordan Williams.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)