Golden boot Masixole Banda stands tall in PRO14
Southern Kings star fourth in kicking list
Standing tall in the face of adversity will ensure versatile Masixole Banda becomes a marked man in the second half of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Despite his team’s lowly log position, the inventive Banda caught the eye with his golden boot and his eye for a gap.
With his team now on a mid-season break, the elusive Banda can look back on his team’s opening 10 matches with a measure of personal satisfaction.
A vital cog in the Kings works, Banda has played fullback and flyhalf when required, and proved to be a points machine for the struggling team.
Banda is fourth of the list of top PRO14 kickers and his tally of 60 points comprises 21 conversions and six penalties.
Connacht’s Jack Carty and Sam Davies (Ospreys) top the charts with 75 points. Edinburgh flyhalf Simon Hickey fills third place with 68 points at the halfway mark in the tournament.
Although Banda was on the losing side against the Scarlets in round five of the competition in September, Banda still stole the show against the Welsh outfit.
I enjoy attacking with ball in hand for the Southern KingsMasixole Banda, Southern Kings utility back
The diminutive No 15 scored a brilliant try, engineered another and kicked four conversions and two penalties in a thrilling lash at the Madibaz Stadium.
It came as no surprise when he was named Man of the Match.
It took the Kings two minutes to register the first points against the Scarlets after the effervescent Banda danced his way through the Welsh defence to score a brilliant solo try.
It was the ever-present Banda who was in the thick of the action when the Kings scored their second try after 21 minutes.
The fullback kicked ahead and wing Yaw Penxe collected and dived in under the posts to put the Kings into a healthy 15-3 lead. “I enjoy my attacking, especially when I have ball in hand. That is when I get excited, because I know I have quick feet and speed,” Banda said.
“I also like to create chances for the outside players.”
Banda will be hoping the second half of the season is just as productive as the Kings bid to lift themselves off the foot of the log.
Kings head coach Deon Davids says he will press the reset button before his team’s next match against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on January 5.
After a dismal start to their campaign, the Kings are planning to hit the ground running against Edinburgh after a four-week break.
In their last game of 2018, the Kings were pipped 22-19 by Benetton Treviso at the Madibaz Stadium.