Southern Kings 14Connacht 31
Morgan Piek reports from Nelson Mandela University Stadium
CONNACHT EARNED THEIR fifth win of the 2018/19 Guinness Pro14 with a polished performance as they beat the Southern Kings 31-14 in Port Elizabeth.
The Western province ran in three tries and also earned a penalty try to see them leave the Friendly City with a full-house of points. The victory has pushed Andy Friend’s side up to second in the standings in Conference A on 26 points.
It took just four minutes for Connacht to get on the board at the Nelson Mandela University Stadium, with fly-half, Jack Carty, judging the windy conditions perfectly to land a penalty.
The first try of the game came in the 11th minute when Cian Kelleher strolled in for the five-pointer and Carty made no mistake in adding the extra two.
The hosts were starved of possession in the first 40 minutes and on the rare occasions when the backs got the ball they looked dangerous, but those finer touches were lacking for the most part. The one time it did work for them, it saw their fleet-footed fullback, Masixole Banda, slip a few tackles for a try in the 25th minute, which he also converted.
Jack Carty was Man of the Match. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
The Kings’ discipline has been arguably the worst of all teams this season, and along with the “curse of the props” in the Bay area, it contributed to a second Connacht try.
They were smart enough to milk a penalty try from the scrum after numerous scrum infringements in the red zone and left the referee, George Clancy, no option but to send loosehead, Lupumlo Mguca, to the bin. Alulutho Tshakweni, replaced Mguca in the front-row, but he was immediately owned by Conor Carey in the scrum which led to the penalty try.
On the stroke of half-time, Matt Healy flew over in the left corner of the field, and Carty slotted the conversion from the touchline to see the visitors leading 24-7 at the break.
The Kings looked a lot more structured at the start of the second half, and a lot better execution and handling ultimately led to the replacement, Ntabeni Dukisa, dotting down after collecting an offload by the former Italian international, Dries van Schalkwyk.
It took more than 20 minutes for Connacht to get on the board in the second half, but sustained pressure led to replacement Paul Boyle crashing over under the posts for the bonus point try, and David Horwitz slotted the easy conversion.