Ricochet News

Southern Kings end Pro14 Euro tour on new lows

Oct 9, 2017
Southern Kings end Pro14 Euro tour on new lows

The first-ever fixture between the Southern Kings and Benetton Rugby ended in victory for the Italian side when they triumphed 31-3 in a GUINNESSPRO14 championship played at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso on Saturday, 7 October.

The match was a scrappy affair punctuated by shrill blasts from the whistle of referee Sean Gallagher who penalized the Kings heavily at the breakdown.

This led to the hosts establishing a 9-0 lead and stout Kings defence was only breached late in the first half when Marco Barbini collected a cross-kick to score out wide for Benetton. With Pieter-Steyn De Wet able to slot a penalty for the Kings after some sustained pressure near the Benetton tryline, the halftime hooter sounded with the score at 14-3.

Making matters even more difficult for the men from Port Elizabeth was the loss of wing Sibusiso Sithole to injury during the first half. Sithole damaged his knee in competing for a high ball and it is feared he may require surgery. He was replaced by Berton Klaasen.

The Southern Kings tried hard to get back into the game during the second half but were let down by an inability to finish promising moves.

Their attempts to build pressure were also undone by conceding too many penalties, particularly at the breakdown, where they struggled to get to grips with referee Gallagher’s interpretation. Benetton added three more tries towards the end of the match and the final score was 31-3 to the home side.

Speaking post-match Southern Kings Head Coach Deon Davids rued a few missed opportunities by his charges.

“I thought we defended well for large parts of the game but we need to be a little more composed on attack. If you don’t take your chances at this level then you end up getting punished and that’s what happened,” he said.

Davids also expressed concern at the number of penalties his team conceded: 

“We’ve improved that aspect of our game over the last few weeks but tonight we struggled to give the referee what he wanted to see at the breakdowns in particular. It is very frustrating because it stops you from gaining any momentum. We just have to learn to adapt. We’ve got a few weeks break now before our next fixture against Glasgow Warriors and that’s definitely one of the things we will be working on.”

The break until that fixture on 27 October will be a welcome one for the Kings players as it affords an opportunity to nurse bumps and bruises of which there are many in addition to the long-term injury sustained by Sithole.  

Highly-rated fullback Masixole Banda, who has been an ever-present in the side so far this campaign, is also likely to send a lengthy period of time on the sidelines after it was revealed that he had a suspected broken collar-bone.

There was also some bad news for the Southern Kings on the medical front in the wake of their loss against Treviso.

Team doctor Clement Plaatjies reported that he had two major concerns involving wing Sibusiso Sithole and fullback Masixole Banda but that the full extent of their injuries would only be known after further examination and X-rays which would be done once the team arrived back in South Africa.

“Sithole appears to have ruptured a patella tendon in his knee. I will be able to confirm the extent of the injury upon further investigation once we are back in PE but at this stage the diagnosis is pretty clear-cut and he may well require surgery,” said Dr Plaatjies. Sithole injured himself whilst competing for a high ball against Benetton and was forced to leave the field as a result.

“Masixole Banda has what looks to be a rather serious injury to his shoulder. It is either a clavicle fracture or a ruptured ACJ ligament. Again, I’ll only be able to confirm after we’ve taken X-rays but either way it will, unfortunately, keep him out of action for quite a while,” Dr Plaatjies said.

Dr Plaatjies also reported that prop Schalk Ferreira, who spent some time in the blood bin during the game, had needed some stitches to a cut on his forehead but was otherwise fine.

Following another tough mini-tour of Europe, the Southern Kings players can now look forward to a few weeks of recovery before their next GUINNESPRO14 Championship clash which will be against the hitherto undefeated Glasgow Warriors in Scotland on Friday, 27 October. Kick off at 19:35 local time.