IMAGE CREDIT: MARC SING KEY
A spirited second half fightback by the Isuzu Southern Kings was not enough to prevent a 17-42 defeat to Irish side, Ulster Rugby, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, 12 October.
The home side found themselves on the back foot after a strong start by the visiting Ulstermen, who had enjoyed a 10-35 lead at the halfway mark.
Ulster only managed to score one try in the second which took their overall tally for the day to six five-pointers, with scrumhalf John Cooney, who had scored two of the tries, successfully converting all six of the visitors’ tries. Other try-scorers for Ulster were centre Luke Marshall, Captain Rob Herring, fullback Matt Faddes and flanker Sean Reidy.
The Isuzu Southern Kings points came from the boot of flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, who opened the scoring with a penalty in the sixth minute, and later converted a try. Centre Tertius Kruger and lock Aston Fortuin scored the two Isuzu Southern Kings tries on the afternoon, with JT Jackson converting Fortuin’s try in the second half.
Isuzu Southern Kings interim Head Coach, Robbi Kempson applauded Ulster’s sterling performance in the opening 40 minutes on the back of a heavy defeat to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last week, while also ruing the errors that let his own side down.
“That first half Ulster schooled us. They played the exact game that we had wanted to play – which was to get a fast start,” said Kempson.
“We made three to four errors, and they capitalised, scoring three to four tries. Defensively there were individual errors from players, which does not help because we have a collective system in our defence.”
The interim Head Coach was pleased with the effort shown in the second half by his bench after making wholesale changes at the half-time break.
“For us, I thought the substitutions early in the second half made a difference. From the start of the second half we had a pretty much Under-23 side that was on the field of play. There was a lot more energy and a lot more effort,” said the Isuzu Southern Kings Director of High Performance.
“I have to give it to that side that played in the second half – they really showed what we can achieve when given the opportunity, and the players go out there and produce the goods.”
The Isuzu Southern Kings will now get a bye before embarking on a tour to Europe over the next month which will see them taking on Benetton (26 October) in Italy, Glasgow Warriors (1 November) in Scotland, Ospreys (9 November) in Wales and then Connacht (30 November) in Ireland.
ISUZU SOUTHERN KINGS
TRIES: Tertius Kruger, Aston Fortuin
CONVERSIONS: Demetri Catrakilis, JT Jackson
PENALTY: Demetri Catrakilis
TRIES: John Cooney (2), Luke Marshall, Rob Herring, Matt Faddes, Sean Reidy
CONVERSIONS: Cooney (6)