An adventurous Kings let slip a 38-25 lead to go down 41-46 to the Force in Perth on Sunday.
It was rather undeserved given how brilliantly they responded in the second half but at this level, lapses of concentration – like the vital ones they made – costs a team dearly.
At least the Kings had the satisfaction of scoring six tries.
Who was the star in this match?
Kings fullback Malcolm Jaer is very much the new Gio Aplon (the tiny former Stormers and Springbok fullback) and finished brilliantly. But the men from Port Elizabeth wouldn’t have been anywhere without flyhalf Lionel Cronje. It was his clean break and two deft kicks that led to three tries. His kicking remains steady.
Key moments and themes
- The Kings struggled to gain a foothold in the first half as the Force, rather skilfully, kept possession well. Deon Davids’ men thrive on turnover ball and lack the creativity to create their own chances. But the Kings did well to use the rolling maul for prop Justin Forwood’s try. It gave them momentum.
- Lionel Cronje continues to be the form No 10 in South Africa as he had a hand in three of his side’s second-half tries. That said, the predatory skills of the back three – Malcolm Jaer, Yaw Penxe and Makazole Mapimpi – is something to marvel at. Jaer was rewarded with a brilliant hat-trick.
- But it was the 20-year-old Penxe that unfortunately made the error that cost the Kings the game. Immediately after Jaer’s third try opened up a 38-25 lead, he tried a chip kick that was charged down. Force winger Alex Newsome scored his second try and gave his side the momentum to win the game.
- Individually, the Kings continue to tackle well – No 6 Chris Cloete (14 tackles) and No 8 Ruaan Lerm (12) led the way – but they lack the collective experience to keep their heads when their in good positions.
Force – Tries: Alex Newsome (2), Jonno Lance, Dane Haylett-Petty, Penalty try, Ben McCalman. Conversions: Lance (2), Ian Prior (2). Penalties: Lance (2).
Kings – Tries: Malcolm Jaer (3), Justin Forwood, Yaw Penxe, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (4). Penalty: Pieter-Steyn de Wet.