It was again a case of missed opportunities for the Isuzu Southern Kings when Zebre beat them in the opening match of this years PRO14.
The Kings had enough changes but did not take them which firstly gave the Zebre a chance to stretch the lead from the start to the end and took themselves out of the contest.
Continuity in a game is very important and the Kings had to play catchup rugby from the start. That force them to play a game that is high risk and which give the opposition the opportunity to play of your mistakes.
Zebre got their forth try in the final minutes of the match but that was against 13 Kings team after they got two yellow cards at the end.
Putting pressure on yourself seems to be the trend for the Kings and they will have to learn to stay to their structures and keep the scoreboard ticking.
The Kings were less than impressive in their debut season and looked as if they were in for more of the same at the start of their second campaign.
After a sustained spell of pressure, the South African side’s defence was eventually overpowered by the Zebre maul, with Oliviero Fabiani scoring the first try of the game in the fifth minute.
Carlo Canna kicked the hosts into a 10-0 lead, but then Michael Botha hit back for the Kings in the 16th minute, going in for their first try. The hosts restored the 10-point lead just before the break, going in 17-7 ahead thanks to Mattia Bellini’s 37th minute try.
Although the boot of Masixole Banda kept the scoreboard ticking for the side from Port Elizabeth in the second half, it was a familiar story for the Kings as Jimmy Tuivati grabbed Zebre’s third try in the 55th minute.
Yellow cards to Andisa Ntsila in the 71st minute and Bobby de Wee in the 79th, both with the score at 27-16, did not help matters for the visitors.
The final nail was hammered into the Kings’ coffin when Apisai Tauyavuca scored an 80th minute try to ensure that Zebre snatched maximum points from their opener.
Tries: Fabiani, Bellini, Tuivati, Tauyavuca
Cons: Canna 3
Pens: Canna 2
For Southern Kings:
Pens: Banda 3
Yellow Cards: Ntsila, De Wee