From Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
Southern Kings 8 The Lions 20
This match was exactly what I had expected from the first five fixtures in South Africa. Highly motivated, passionate opposition who were intent on: A.Roughing up the Lions, B.Winning the game – probably in that order.
And the Lions should be delighted with the way their players stood up to this physical examination. When the late hits went in and when the Kings went close to “going the biff” in the rucks they responded in the best possible way. They held their nerve and ended with a penalty try, although the citing officer may still have a busy few hours ahead of him.
As it turned out the Kings were always going to blow up in the second half and the second yellow card proved decisive as it allowed an advantage in the scrum that led to a penalty try, in the 69th minute.
A great piece of finishing from Ugo Monye after 50 minutes set the Lions going, after a crossfield kick from Ronan O’Gara.
Southern Kings coach Alan Solomons revelled in the physical approach of his side against the Lions, and repeated his delight at the way the Kings “climbed into” the Lions in Port Elizabeth.
How relevant this will be to the Test match on Saturday?
The Observer’s Eddie Butler seemed to believe – in the press conference – that it could effect the Test match in that the officials could be watching the Boks more closely. It is possible?
Clearly the Springboks will not be throwing the same sort of cheap shots at the Lions but they will be more physical at the breakdown and the Lions must be ready for this. They not only need to be more physical, but they also need to divert more numbers to the breakdown. A specialist No 7 in either Martyn Williams or David Wallace will help.
The passion in the stands from the Kings fans was a big plus for South African rugby and the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is one of the best I have been to in South Africa. It is only a matter of time before it hosts a Springbok Test match.
But what do you think about the game? Did the Southern Kings over-step the mark?