The Kings dismally lost 32-10 in Galway to Connacht in a Pro 14 game that confirmed that South Africa’s Super Rugby discards in the Cheetahs and Kings are going to struggle in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Port Elizabeth team was outclassed by Ireland’s weakest team on Saturday night in the follow-up to their 57-10 defeat last week against Wales team Llanelli. Earlier in the day, the Cheetahs were outclassed 51-18 by Ireland’s Munster.
It was an even start to the game with neither side gaining an advantage until Kings wing Sbu Sithole was yellow carded for a professional foul and five minutes later Connacht centre Tom Farell scored from close quarters after a steady team build-up and flyhalf Jack Carty converted.
The Kings could not impose themselves on the game and when Carty kicked his team 10-0 up after 25 minutes it was a well-deserved lead.
But the visitors soldiered on and in the 32nd minute outside centre Berton Klaasen had an easy run into the corner after a solid build-up of phases. That was about as good as it got for the Kings.
And the fightback was short-lived when Connacht replied almost immediately when replacement centre Eoghan Masterson completed a team try six minutes before half -time and Carty’s conversion took the lead out to 17-5.
And a mortal blow was delivered to the visitors a minute after the hooter when lock Ultan Dillane barged over, with the conversion meaning a 24-5 half-time lead.
Five minutes into the second half that lead was extended to 27-5 by a Carty penalty.
But the Kings did not roll over and when Connacht tighthead prop Finlay Bealham was yellow carded 13 minutes into the second half, the Kings responded with a movement that brought replacement prop Luvuyo Pupuma within inches of a try that was disallowed by the TMO.
Instead, with 10 minutes to go, Connacht worked right wing Darragh Leader into space for their fourth try and at 32-5 down the Kings were in danger of a hiding.
But they had the last say when they scored the final try of the game through Pupuma, which went unconverted.
Connacht – Tries: Tom Farrell, Eoghan Masterson, Ultan Dillane, Darragh Leader. Conversions: Jack Carty (3). Penalties: Carty (2).
Kings – Tries: Berton Klaasen, Luvuyo Pupuma.