The Vodacom Super Rugby match between the Southern Kings and Sunwolves literally went down to the wire at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Resolute defence, particularly in the second half , and making use of their opportunities on attack saw the Kings win the game in front of a small home crowd.
Particular mention must be made of flanker Chris Cloete who had a massive game and on one occasion sprinted back to his own tryline to prevent a certain try from being scored.
The Southern Kings opened the scoring with a try from captain, Steven Sykes, converted by Louis Fouche as they took an early 7 – 0 lead after just four minutes.
Fouche added another penalty three minutes later as he stretched their lead to 10 – 0 after seven minutes.
Sunwolves fly half, Tusi Pisi added a penalty kick minutes later as they trailed 10 – 3 after ten minutes.
The home side was back on the attack inside the Sunwolves half and a brilliant inside pass provided Malcolm Jaer with enough space to cut through the Sunwolves defense as he scored his team’s second try. Fouche missed the conversion as they took a 15 – 3 lead.
The visitors struck back with two tries in quick succession, the first by captain Shota Horie followed by Pisi. Pisi converted the first try to level the scores at 15 all.
Southern Kings’ Shane Gates snatched a loose ball as it popped out the ruck to sprint in a 60 odd meters try. Fouche missed the conversion as they took a 20 – 15 lead.
Sunwolves scored a try on half-time, but not before Fouche added another penalty kick for the Southern Kings as the half ended 23 – 20.
The second half only came to live in the closing minutes as the two fly halves exchanged penalty kicks. Fouche and Pisi added a penalty each as the Southern Kings held onto a slender three point lead with two minutes remaining, 26 – 23.
Replacement Elgar Watts scored in the 78th minute, with Fouche was spot on with the conversion as they took a 33 – 23 lead.
Not to be outdone the Sunwolves threw everything at the Southern Kings, with a minute remaining and managed to score their fourth try of the game in the left hand corner. The conversion was missed taking the final score to 33 – 28 to the home side.
Southern Kings (23) 33 – Tries: Steven Sykes, Malcolm Jaer, Shane Gates, Elgar Watts. Conversions: Fouche (2). Penalties: Fouche (2).
Sunwolves (20) 28 – Tries: Shota Horie, Timothy Bond, Tusi Pisi, Akihito Yamada. Conversion: Pisi. Penalties: Pisi (2)
All photos taken by Zane Hobson