Leinster punish Kings indiscipline with blitz
Southern Kings 31 Leinster 38
Leinster coach Leo Cullen said that a killer instinct which yielded three tries just before the break was decisive in securing a bonus point win in Port Elizabeth.
The champions were ruthless as they punished Kings indiscipline to open up a 33-12 interval lead.
“We are very pleased, but parts of our performance were very mixed. We struggled to control the ball in the first-half, but then we got a little bit of dominance in the scrum and we got some good rewards off the back of that.
“Three tries, bang, bang, bang, just before half-time was definitely the winning of the game, but it was a bit of a mixed bag for us,” said Cullen.
Leinster ran in six tries to secure a fifth try bonus victory in the defence of their Guinness PRO14 title at the Madibaz Stadium, but they also leaked five tries to a Kings side who had four players binned during the course of the game.
Three of those yellow cards came in the opening half as the Kings struggled to deal with Leinster’s power up front and Cullen’s men had the bonus point in the bag and the game wrapped up by the break when they led 33-12.
The Kings enjoyed a great start when a grubber from out-half Martin du Toit deceived Adam Byrne and winger Yaw Penxe pounced to score after just three minutes.
Leinster had a strong and difficult wind behind them and got back on level terms after 15 minutes when Rory O’Loughlin set up Adam Byrne to score in the right corner.
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Their superior scrum yielded a penalty try after 25 minutes, but scrum-half Stefan Ungerer intercepted a pass to level the sides at 12-12 seven minutes from the break despite having two men in the bin.
However, Leinster finished the opening half in blistering fashion with three tries in the closing four minutes before the break.
Jamison Gibson-Park got a scoring spree going when he finished off a good move, before Ed Byrne charged down a clearance from Ungerer for Dan Leavy to score under the posts.
A yellow card to flanker Tienie Burger after he took out Max Deegan only delayed the inevitable, as Deegan scored when they opted for the scrum for the infringement and Leinster again turned the screw up front to lead 33-12 at the break.
Ungerer intercepted a Deegan pass to reduce the deficit three minutes after the restart with his second try, but this was cancelled after 65 minutes when Bryan Byrne scored after incessant Leinster pressure.
The Southern Kings didn’t give up, even when suffering a fourth yellow card when replacement Berton Klaasen was binned, and secured two bonus points with tries from prop Luphumlo Mguca and Dries van Schalkwyk.
However, Leinster never looked like getting caught here.
Southern Kings – M Banda, M Makase, H Klassen (B Klaasen 62), T Kruger, Y Penxe (M Rokoua 47), M du Toit, S Ungerer (G Masimla 72); S Ferreira (L Mguca 20-27, 55), A van Rooyen (T Balekile 58), J Forwood (N Oosthuizen 50), S Greeff (D van Schalkwyk 65), JC Astle, S de Wit (CJ Velleman 50), M Burger, R Lerm
Leinster – D Kearney (H O’Sullivan 73), A Byrne, R O’Loughlin (T Daly 29), C O’Brien, J Tomane (C Frawley 37), N Reid, J Gibson-Park; E Byrne (P Dooley 54), J Tracy (B Byrne 54), M Bent (V Abdaladze 65), R Molony, S Fardy (M Kearney 64-67), J Murphy (M Kearney 68), D Leavy, M Deegan (C Doris 43)
Ref – L Linton (Scotland)