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ANALYSIS: Southern Kings show promise, need to up their execution, scramble defence

ANALYSIS: Southern Kings show promise, need to up their execution, scramble defence

The Southern Kings on Saturday slumped to a 39-26 defeat to Argentina’s Jaguares at the NMB Stadium, and can reap some much-needed confidence, despite the home-loss.

Scoring three tries to the Kings’ two, the Jaguares may have been at stages relatively rattled and also in combination, a bit complacent as the match came to a close in the second half. With the scores still narrowly contested of 19-12 to the Jaguares at half-time, the result was still not yet set in stone.

However, two penalties converted from the Jaguares’ Santiagio Igesias in the 47th minute and 50th respectively, stretched their lead to 25-12, before the Kings unleashed some promising phase-play in the Jaguares half.

After accumulating some prospected go-forward, the Southern Kings enveloped slowly up the field on numerous occasions with quality quick-ball, passing and off-loads, before mistake relapses costed them the chances to execute.

Through a single-phase, approximate 90-metre try, the Jaguares did what the Kings could not, through volatile execution of a long-range try in the 53rd minute by Leonardo Senatore – following a Kings build-up of over 10 phases.

With the scores now at an unflattering 32-12 against the Kings, the Argentinean outfit then once more accosted the Kings for an error made just three minutes later from an attempted inward pass from the touch to kick a loose ball through.

Kings’ fullback, Chrysander Botha, then failed in his attempt to gather the ball just outside his 22-metre line, just for the Jaguares’ chasers to capitalize to send Joaquin Tuculet through for another try – taking the scores to 39-12.

Execution aside, the Kings did show promise in their attacking play, with some fine ball-distribution from the breakdowns, through to the interplay between the backs and forwards. Their attacking streams saw them up on the possession and territory statistics – playing 61.8% in the Jaguares half and 15.8% on attack in the Jaguares red zone.

As a result of three long range tries, the Jaguares only managed to spell 5.4% of attack in the Kings’ red zone, with the Port Elizabeth-based side also upending the visitors 51% to 49% on the match possession stats.

39 proved to be the Jaguares final score, as the Kings scored two unanswered tries when they looked set and buried through a blinding outskirt try from debutant winger, Makazole Mapimpi on the 66th minute and a mauling try from hooker, Luzuko Vulindlu on the 80th minute.

Doing well in their efforts to prevent the Jaguares from scoring a bonus-point try-deficit try in the last 14 minutes, but instead scoring a constellation themselves, the character shown by the Kings can also be a seeping positive.

The Kings also obtained the upper-hand in line-out time with two new debutant locks, as they had a 88.2% success rate to the Jaguares’ 81.8%. The Kings also had a higher tackle-completion rate of 84.18% to the 82.83% of the Jaguares.

The Jaguares also managed to concede more turnovers of 17 to the Kings’ 16, and due to their long-range persecuted tries, the Argentinean outfit had the upper hand of 4.74-metres gained per ball carry to the Kings’ average ball go-forward of 3.61-metres.

Ultimately, if the Kings could up their scramble defence in the loose play, while looking after the ball better, the match could have fared somewhat differently, but credit must be given to the experience and dynamics of the Jaguares for finding the ability to blind through for tries when momentum pressed against them.

This feat most often lends out to the New Zealand style of rugby, and for that feat, the Kings did show promise, for a young and inexperienced line-up.

Flyhalf Lionel Cronje, also showed a tremendous breakthrough after last being in rugby action two years ago, in the Southern Kings pick for man-of-the-match as he made a total 51 go-forward metres, nine carries, four defenders beaten, 16 passes completed, eight tackles made, one try-assist and 16-points scored.