Rugby
Kings show marked improvement against Hurricanes

The Southern Kings put in a solid performance against the Hurricans, with the home team only securing their bonus point in the final minute of the game.

The Hurricanes came out all guns blazing from the opening whistle, playing at pace, which was rewarded in the 5th minute when Ngani Laumape dotted the ball over the whitewash, which Beauden Barrett failed to convert.

The Kings retaliated and found a bit of momentum, with Louis Fouché converting a penalty in the 10th minute to put the first points on the board.

Some great stepping by Dane Coles, which saw Hurricanes No 8, Blade Thomson add another 5 points with an outstretched arm over the whitewash three minutes later. Barrett converted.

With another penalty to the Kings, Fouché stepped up for a deep kick at the posts from 55m out, and while on point, it lacked the distance.

Coles once again stepped the Hurricanes into five points, evading defenders and setting up Ardie Savea to cross the whitewash, with another successful conversion by Barrett.

With the Hurricanes leading 19 points to 3 in the 30th minute, many would have thought that the floodgates had once again opened against the Kings, but the team showed character and a spirited attack saw Steven Sykes cross the line for the Kings first try, in his 100th Super Rugby match.

Fouché converted, narrowing the gap to just 9 points.

Head Coach Deon Davids had previously said the team needed to focus more in the ten minutes leading up to half time, and he can be proud of the team as they stepped up to the challenge.

A focused effort, followed by a break by Shane Gates and a great offload to Fouché, saw the flyhalf dot the ball neatly between the posts, setting up an easy conversion for himself just as the halftime whistle sounded.

The Kings went into the break trailing by just 2 points, with the Hurricanes 19 to Southern Kings 17.

The Kings put up a spirited defence in the beginning of the second half and gained valuable turnovers, retaining possession and holding the Hurricanes off for the first ten minutes, before Barrett converted two penalties in quick succession in the 54th and 58th minutes.

Fouché added the Kings only additional points for the second half in the 61st minute, to narrow the gap to just 5 points.

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Yet despite the character and determination displayed from the Kings, another penalty from Barrett in the 69th minute edged the Hurricanes further ahead into the final 10 minutes of the game.

A try by late substitution Vince Aso in the 74th minute and another by Barrett in the final minute of the game, both which he converted, saw the Canes secure their bonus point win and close the game 42 – 20.

Point Scorers:

Hurricanes – Tries: Ngani Laumape, Blade Thomson, Ardie Savea, Vince Aso, Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Barrett (4). Penalties: Barrett (3).

Kings – Tries: Steven Sykes, Louis Fouché. Conversions: Fouché (2). Penalties: Fouché (2).

Teams:

Hurricanes – 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves.
Subs: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Ben May, 19 Geoff Cridge, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Matt Proctor.

Kings – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhoudt, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 JP du Plessis.

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