‘Scrum to blame for our loss’
Frustrated Isuzu Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids laid the blame for his team’s narrow 40-36 defeat against the Cheetahs at the door of his misfiring scrum.
The Kings have been hit by a series of injuries in the forwards and Davids pinpointed this as a major factor their Guinness PRO14 loss in Bloemfontein.
“At end of the day you can’t play rugby if you do not have a good scrum,” Davids said.
“Most of the penalties we are conceding come from the set-piece and that is putting us under great pressure.
“The scrum can put you under pressure regarding territory advantage. That leads to defence which tires players and you don’t get a chance to create good chances for yourself.
“If you look at both games against the Cheetahs, they got the upper hand in the scrums.
“We have got some young players who have been thrown in at the deep end to learn and we have had injuries.
“You get those seasons when you get repeated injuries in one position and this season it has been the forwards.”
Davids said a slow start had again proved to be costly for his team who trailed 19-3 after 23 minutes.
“In this game we started very slowly and we made too many fundamental errors.
“But when we found our rhythm and found space, and got more continuity with ball in hand, we created chances.
“That made a difference on the scoreboard at the end.”
Despite being man short, the Kings mounted a stirring late fightback.
When the Cheetahs opened a healthy 40-15 lead after 65 minutes , it appeared that they had snuffed out any hopes of a Kings revival.
What made the Kings late flourish remarkable was that it was achieved with 14 men after CJ Velleman was red-carded in the 62nd minute.
The Kings exploded into action in the final minutes with tries from Tienie Burger, Alandre van Rooyen and Berton Klaasen.
Klaasen’s try came after the hooter, and if there had been more time left on the clock, the Kings would have fancied their chances of pulling off a sensational come-from-behind win.
All the momentum was with the Kings in the final minutes, as they continued to show they are team that can never be written off.
With the Cheetahs leading 19-10 at the break, the in-form Yaw Penxe scored the Kings’s second try after a brilliant offload from Fijian Meli Rokoua.
That left the Cheetahs with a slender 19-15 lead, and set the scene for the thrilling second half.
Never afraid to spread the ball wide, the Cheetahs notched up their fourth try when Malcolm Jaer went over in the corner.
Further Cheetahs tries from Junior Pokomela and Reinach Venter and the red card to Velleman, allowed Free Staters start to start bossing the contest and open a commanding lead.
Despite the game being taken away from them, the Kings to continued to play an enterprising brand of rugby and were rewarded with the late try flourish...