Ref­eree does Kings no favours as Lions win promo play-off

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

GAVIN RICH EV­ERY team ac­cepts that some­times you get the rub of the green and some­times you don’t, but when it goes against you in a pro­mo­tion-rel­e­ga­tion game, it seems par­tic­u­larly cruel.

So it was easy to feel sorry for the South­ern Kings last night as they lost 19-26 to the Lions. First they con­ceded an in­ter­cept try, and then later in the game they prof­ited from two mis­takes in quick suc­ces­sion from ref­eree Jaco Peyper.

Let’s talk about the sec­ond try first. Two min­utes be­fore the Lions scored through Stokkies Hanekom to take a telling 12-point lead, the Kings had been on the at­tack, about three me­tres from the Lions’ try­line, when the ball was shov­elled back from a loose scrum and dot­ted down by the Lions.

How­ever Peyper ruled that it had been kicked for­ward by the Kings, which the re­play showed quite clearly that it hadn’t been. If Peyper hadn’t taken the sen­si­ble route of check­ing the re­play, he would have awarded the Kings a five-me­tre scrum in­stead of let­ting the Lions es­cape with a 22-me­tre drop-out.

And from that drop-out the Lions played their way into the Kings ter­ri­tory, where they did well to poach the ball from the Kings li­ne­out. A pass from El­ton Jan­tjies through the tackle put Hanekom on for what was his sec­ond try, but on the ev­i­dence that pass looked pal­pa­bly for­ward.

Again, Peyper did not check the re­play.

The Kings fought back with a try to Steven Sykes off a driv­ing maul to make it a close game in the last 11 min­utes but the Lions held on for the win.

Over­all the Kings only had them­selves to blame for lack­ing com­po­sure for much of the 80 min­utes of the game and con­ced­ing way too many penal­ties through in­dis­ci­pline, but it was still an in­jus­tice that they should lose out to ref­er­ee­ing mis­takes.

The in­ter­cept try also cost them dearly, as it came at a cru­cial junc­ture. The hosts were lead­ing 14- 12 three min­utes be­fore the break and were dom­i­nat­ing the ter­ri­tory bat­tle. And they were build­ing up an­other at­tack as they sought the points that would give them a com­fort­able buf­fer.

But as they built up to the left, Hanekom pounced on a pass well in­side his own half and ran two- thirds of the length of the field to score near the posts. What had looked like be­ing a Kings ad­van­tage was sud­denly a five-point deficit.

The score, so close to the break, proved a game-changer, as the Lions were much stronger in the sec­ond half.

The Kings started off show­ing mas­sive phys­i­cal in­tent as Wimpie van der Walt put in a huge tackle from the kick-off that dis­pos­sessed the Lions, and fly­half Demetri Ca­trak­ilis kicked the points to make it 3-0 af­ter just two min­utes. There­after though there was a slew of penal­ties con­ceded, and af­ter 17 min­utes Jan­tjies had kicked four penal­ties to make it 12-6.

Ca­trak­ilis then set up a try to Mar­cello Samp­son with a cross-kick and that took the Kings back into the lead, but sadly for them it all went awry af­ter the in­ter­cept.

The Kings pick up a bonus point which could prove sig­nif­i­cant if they win by more than seven next week as the team that plays in Su­per Rugby next year will be the one that picks up the most log points over the two fix­tures.


ON THE MOVE: El­ton Jan­tjies of the Lions off­loads dur­ing the pro­mo­tion/rel­e­ga­tion match last night in Port El­iz­a­beth.

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