SA Kings win IRB Nations Cup trophy

It was mission accomplished for the South African Kings on their first mission abroad when they defeated a gallant Portugal side 39-12 to win the IRB Nations Cup trophy, undefeated, at the Arcul de Triumf Stadium in Bucharest on Sunday.

Deprived of the services of their outstanding number eight Luke Watson, who was taken ill on the eve of the match, the Kings lost a key player and a degree of composure, but still started well and scored a couple of tries in the first half through two members of the frontrowers Jaco Engles and Clint Newland.

The Portuguese answered in kind with two equally unusual scores from their two lock forwards Eduardo Acosta and Juan Severino, but the third South African try, by blind side flanker Jacques Potgieter, put them in control and also held the distinction of taking the IRB Nations Cup past the 2000-point mark since the first tournament in Lisbon in 2006.

In the second half a brace by Siyanda Grey took his tally to six for the tournament — the highest this year and in IRB Nations Cup history.

After the break the dominant South African pack took further control of proceedings as the Portuguese tired.

Errol Brain’s men never gave up — particularly back row forwards Laurent Balangue, Vasco Uva and Jacques Le Roux — but they conceded too many turnovers in the final quarter to take advantage of their industry and the South Africans held sway to clinch victory.

“This was a good win, the third of the tournament and I am happy for the boys,” said Kings captain Mzwandile Stick.

“We had lost our way in the first half but there were a few words from the coach at half time and we regained structure after the break.

“It was very hot and this was a very intense, physical tournament and I am delighted.”

“We lost our composure in the second half,” admitted Portugal coach Brain.

“We started to ignore the game plan, which we adhered to in the first half, started to run laterally instead of running straight.”

“The heat took its toll and we made two silly mistakes but in fairness we must say that we played against a better side and they deserved to win.”


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