SA teams stampeded in Pro 14
SOUTH Africa were given a sobering reminder of the strength of Northern Hemisphere rugby when the Cheetahs were thrashed 51-18 by Irish province Munster in Limerick on Saturday night.
The Kings didn’t fare much better when they dismally lost 32-10 in Galway to Connacht in a Pro 14 game that confirmed that South Africa’s Super Rugby discards are going to struggle in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Cheetahs’ stark introduction into the world of the Pro 14 continued after they last week were smashed 42-19 by Ulster in Belfast.
That is 93 points in a fortnight in Ireland as former Cheetahs player and coach Rassie Erasmus, now the Munster coach, oversaw a total annihilation of the Bloemfontein team, who were more competitive in Super Rugby earlier this year than they have been in this two weeks of competition in Ireland.
Munster scored eight tries to two and if their kicker, Ian Keatley, had been better with his conversion attempts, the score would have been in the 60s.
Home side wing Alex Wooton alone helped himself to four tries as the Cheetahs were left as red-faced as the crimson of the Munster jerseys.
The Cheetahs simply could not get possession or territory and were relegated to the odd counter-attack which saw them score a try just after half-time through centre William Small-Smith, to give them a glimmer of hope, but their next score would be in the 80th minute when the proverbial consolation try was scored by flank Henco Venter.
Otherwise, it was all Munster, who were 17-3 up after 18 minutes, and there was no coming back for a visiting team that could not get their hands on the ball, never mind build phases to attack.
The Port Elizabeth team, meanwhile, were outclassed by Ireland’s weakest team in the follow-up to their 57-10 defeat last week against Wales team Llanelli.
It was an even start to the game with neither side gaining an advantage until Kings wing Sbu Sithole was yellow-carded for a professional foul and five minutes later Connacht centre Tom Farell scored from close quarters after a steady team build-up and flyhalf Jack Carty converted.
The Kings could not impose themselves on the game and when Carty kicked his team 10-0 up after 25 minutes it was a well-deserved lead.
But the visitors soldiered on and in the 32nd minute outside centre Berton Klaasen had an easy run into the corner after a solid build-up of phases. That was about as good as it got for the Kings.
The fightback was short-lived as Connacht replied almost immediately when replacement centre Eoghan Masterson dotted down six minutes before half-time with Carty’s conversion taking the lead out to 17-5.
A mortal blow was delivered to the visitors a minute after the hooter when lock Ultan Dillane barged over, with the conversion meaning a 24-5 half-time lead.
The screws were turned in just five minutes into the second half when the lead was extended to 27-5 by a Carty penalty.
And despite a brave showing by the Kings, with 10 minutes to go, Connacht worked right wing Darragh Leader into space for their fourth try and at 32-5 down the Kings were in danger of a hiding.
But the visitors had the last say when they scored the final try of the game through Pupuma, which went unconverted. –