Brumbies grind out critical win over Kings

Super Rugby
by AFP

The Brumbies became the first Australian side to win a Super Rugby match in South Africa this season by overcoming Southern Kings 19-10 in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

The Canberra outfit succeeded where Melbourne Rebels, NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds and Western Force failed by securing an abundance of possession throughout.

Superb defending enabled the Kings to lead 10-5 at half-time, but they finally caved in during the final quarter and conceded two tries.

Winger Aidan Toua dotted down on 64 minutes and fullback Tom Banks atoned for being yellow-carded by scoring in the same corner seven minutes later.

The result marked a turnaround for both sides with Brumbies winning for only the second time in six games and Kings losing for the first time in four matches.

Although both teams have won four games this season and lost seven, they occupy very different positions in the conference standings.

Brumbies top the Australian table by seven points from Queensland Reds with four rounds remaining and are on course for the quarter-finals.

The Kings are bottom of the Africa 2 log, 32 points adrift of 2016 Super Rugby runners-up the Lions from Johannesburg.

"It is a great achievement to be the first Australian winners in South Africa this year," said Brumbies skipper and Wallabies lock Sam Carter.

"We travelled from Canberra with a winning mindset and let us hope it continues in Argentina next weekend against the Jaguares.

"In recent matches we secured lots of possession without translating it into points, so tonight marked a nice change for us.

"I wondered early in the second half if we were going to fail again as the Kings kept repelling our attacks, but all the pressure finally paid off."

 Kings skipper and flyhalf Lionel Cronje, whose 63rd-minute substitution surprised many at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, hailed a "valiant effort" by his team.

"We were working off scraps of possession and were unable to keep the Brumbies at bay in the closing stages.

"I am so disappointed that we could not extend our winning run to four matches in front of a great crowd." - Lionel Cronje.

A penalty try - worth seven points in Super Rugby - got Kings off to a flying start and reduced Brumbies to 14 men with Banks sin-binned for tackling a man without the ball. 

Cronje slotted a penalty on 17 minutes for a 10-point lead, but it was the last time the hosts scored.

Brumbies took advantage of Kings prop Ross Geldenhuys being yellow-carded for the fourth time this season when hooker Josh Mann-Rea scored off a rolling maul.

A brilliant kick into space by scrum-half Joe Powell set up Toua for his try and flyhalf Wharenui Hawera converted to put the Australians 12-10 ahead.

Banks won a race for possession to score spectacularly and Hawera converted again to close the scoring.


Southern Kings 10

Tries: Penalty try

Pens: Cronje 1

Brumbies 19

Tries: Mann-Rea, Toua, Banks

Cons: Hawera 2

* Please note penalty try is worth sevens points.