Kings punish injured Rebels

Sunday April 30, 2017

The Melbourne Rebels have gone down to the Southern Kings 44-3 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Rebels dominated possession and territory but more injuries stifled the visitors attack as the Kings scored six unanswered tries to claim the bonus point victory.

Rebels lost Nic Stirzaker before the game after the captain was a late withdrawal courtesy of an ankle injury which saw Mick Snowden promoted to the starting line-up for the first time in his career.

But, an injury to Snowden 20 minutes into the game saw the halfback merry go round continue with stand-in skipper Colby Fainga’a shifted from flanker to scrumhalf before Ben Volavola, who started the game as fly-half, moved to No.9.

The Kings turned early pressure into points when captain Lionel Cronje opened the scoring with a penalty from in front on the fifth minute.

The hosts extended their advantage midway through the first-half when winger Wandile Mjekevu finished off a great team try when he pounced on a grubber kick to score in the corner to give the Kings an 8-0 lead.

The Rebels hit the scoreboard through the boot of Reece Hodge on the 28th minute before Cronje responded five minutes from the break to send the Kings into half-time with an 11-3 lead.

Rebels head coach Tony McGahan turned to the experienced bench at the break with the inclusion of Toby Smith for his first appearance of the season and lock Dominic Day.

The Kings struck again two minutes after the restart when the hosts capitalised on a turnover to race half the length of the field before hooker Martin Bezuiden crashed over to make it 18-3.

The hosts added two more in five minutes when Tyler Paul punished a line-out error from the Rebels before substitute Pieter-Steyn de Wet stepped through the defence to finish a counter-attack on the 62nd minute.

The Rebels best chance of the game came 13 minutes from full-time when Jackson Garden-Bachop kicked across field into free space for Marika Koroibete to race onto but the winger lost his footing before he could regather the ball.

Kings winger Makazole Mapimpi showed a clean pair of heels to race down the left touchline to finish a scrum set piece to extend the hosts lead to 37-3 after de Wet converted on the 70th minute.

Fullback Masixole Banda rounded out the scoring on the full-time siren after the Kings spread the ball wide from a rolling maul to complete the 44-3 win.

Southern Kings 44 (Mjekevu, Bezuiden, Paul, de Wet, Mapimpi, Banda tries; de Wet 3, Cronje 1 con; Cronje 2 pens) defeated Melbourne Rebels 3 (Hodge pen)

News Source: Melbourne Rebels