SA teams stam­peded in Pro 14

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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. –

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