RYAN VREDE reports on an inspired 23-7 victory for the Kings over the Bulls.
There won’t be much to encourage the Bulls’ coaching staff in the post-mortem of this match. They were disjointed and rudderless, with little sign of their renowned brutal pragmatism. Their ball protection and the tackle point and breakdown was poor, and against a side whose intensity and aggression suggested this was much more than a gentle hit out, they were always going to struggle.
A lack of synergy was expected, as were structural deficiencies, but it will be consistent fundamental errors that will most vex the visitors’ technical staff. They’ll improve with the return of their first-choice players next week against the Platinum XV, but the boys on the fringe can’t be proud of this effort.
However, credit must go to the Kings, who, buoyed by an excellent home crowd, were better in most facets of play. Their solid phase play and high-tempo attacking manoeuvres stretched the Bulls, while they stood firm in the collisions and bossed at scrum time. Their tactical kicking game lacked precision, but other than that they gave a very impressive account of themselves.
The visitors resisted until the end of the first quarter, when Monty Dumond banked two penalties in quick succession. However, the Kings were handicapped when No 8 Darron Nell was yellow carded in the 25th minute. This saw the Bulls enjoy their most concerted period of pressure. However, they couldn’t capitalise, the best chance being lost when Cornell Hess coughed up the ball in contact 5m short of the tryline just before the break.
Dumond put the Kings 9-0 ahead two minutes into the second half and 10 minutes later sank a conversion after Matthew Taylor-Smith sprinted home for a try that was birthed when Bulls centre Stephan Dippenaar was isolated on the Kings’ 10m line.
The moment of the match was reserved for the Kings’ impressive midfielder Siyanda Grey, who rounded off a flowing backline movement that featured a slick passing interchange with Norman Nelson. Dumond added the extras to establish a commanding 23-0 lead.
The Bulls profited from ordinary defence when Courtnall Skosan eased through the defensive line, but their efforts to stage a late comeback were compromised by a plethora of basic errors, many of those by players with Super Rugby experience.