It was an encouraging weekend for the South African teams in the Guinness PRO14, as the Isuzu Southern Kings earned their first win of the season, while the Toyota Cheetahs registered a draw in an inspiring change of fortunes after slow starts to the competition.
On Saturday, the Isuzu Southern Kings produced a passionate display against the Glasgow Warriors with the side racing to a 24-0 halftime lead in Port Elizabeth, which paved the way for their 38-28 victory.
The home side ran hard on attack and made good use of their chances, which saw them cross the tryline three times in the first half, and twice more after the break to increase their tally to five.
The Glasgow Warriors – who suffered their first defeat of the season – in turn, battled to make their presence felt early on, but staged a dramatic comeback late in the game, and finished strongly to earn their bonus-point try in the dying seconds.
In Bloemfontein on Friday, a try on the stroke of fulltime by Ulster’s Henry Speight and a successful conversion by Billy Burns saw the Toyota Cheetahs settle for a 39-39 draw, despite out-scoring the visitors five tries to four. Two penalty goals by Burns, who had a solid day with the boot, proved productive on the scoreboard in the end.
The Toyota Cheetahs delivered their best attacking performance of the season, but handling errors and costly decision-making at times denied them from earning their first victory. Franco Smith’s charges, however, will draw confidence from the performance, which earned them three points, and ended Ulster’s winning run.
In the other matches, the Cardiff Blues defeated Munster 37-13 at Cardiff Arms Park, Connacht outplayed the Scarlets 33-20 in Galway, the Dragons beat Zebre 16-5 in Newport, Leinster overpowered Edinburgh 31-7 in Dublin, and Ospreys defeated Benetton 27-10 in Swansea.
Guinness PRO14 Round 4 results and scorers (click on the hyperlink for the full scoresheet):
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Gerhard Olivier, William Small-Smith, Joseph Dweba, Jacques Du Toit, Sibahle Maxwane. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (3), Louis Fouché. Penalty Goals: Tian Schoeman, Louis Fouché.
Ulster – Tries: Dave Shanahan (2), Johnny Stewart, Henry Speight. Conversions: Billy Burns (3). Penalty Goals: Billy Burns (2).
Isuzu Southern Kings – Tries: Yaw Penxe, Martin du Toit (2), Poerie van Rooyen, Harlon Klaasen. Conversions: Masixole Banda (5). Penalty Goal: Masixole Banda.
Glasgow Warriors – Tries: Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe (2), Fraser Brown. Conversions: Adam Hastings (4).