Tough Lessons In Pro14 For SA Sides

There were “tough lessons” learned for South Africa’s two PRO14 Rugby sides as they both lost their second games on tour in difficult weather conditions on a weekend that didn’t suit either side’s style of play.

Driving rain and cold greeted both teams as the Isuzu Southern Kings went down 50-0 to last season’s finalists, the Glasgow Warriors, while the Toyota Cheetahs lost a close game to Welsh side Scarlets 17-14.

Southern Kings coach Robbie Kempson believed the result was a wake-up call for his team as the young side struggled to contain a side filled with Scottish internationals that had returned from the Rugby World Cup.

“It was a tough encounter against Glasgow. It was one of those rare and unfortunate compliments you get from the opposition when they play all their internationals, whereas in previous seasons they have fielded academy sides,” Kempson said.

“It was good schooling for our lads, and it is important that we learn how to embrace those challenges. When sides are gearing up for the European and Challenge Cup, I think we need to realize the level that we are playing against. It is not what has come before in previous seasons,” he noted.

Despite the loss the team would not give up on their style of play or the way they are blooding young talent.

“There were tough lessons learned, particularly for our younger players. Do we continue in the manner we are? – Yes definitely. The reason we have a young squad is to ensure there is a learning curve, and not to discard them at any chance. It is to give them a chance to embrace these challenges going forward and to realise what a tough competition it is playing in the PRO14 week in and week out.

“It will be no different this coming week, so it is up to us to start embracing those challenges and take the next step forward in what we are trying to achieve,” added Kempson.

Toyota Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie was disappointed at his side’s tactical naivety in their loss to the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday but felt they would be better when they face similar conditions in the future.

“We are disappointed about losing. While last week we felt a few decisions went against us at a crucial time, this loss was our own fault. The conditions were difficult and we didn’t adapt very well in them,” Fourie said.

“But I felt we should have used more tactical kicking to place them under pressure, but we put up too many phases and played too much and then made mistakes in the process. The difference between the two teams for me was the second try that the Scarlets scored from a turnover and it was a long-distance try.

“In a situation like that where it was always going to be a tight game, seven easy points conceded made a big difference and it swung the momentum to their side.

“A lot of our guys haven’t played in rain for the last seven or eight months, we will be better in the next game that we face those conditions. We are disappointed because we get close every time and we want to change the momentum and win overseas. It is one of the goals that the team has set themselves and we have one more chance this weekend against Cardiff and we will give everything in our power to do so,” he added.

The Kings will face the Ospreys while the Cheetahs will play the Cardiff Blues in their final pool games of the current tour.

Isuzu Southern Kings 0-50 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors – tries Grant Stewart, Matt Fagerson, Callum Gibbons, Ollie Kebble, Nikola Matawatu, Zander Fagerson, Penalty try, Ratu Tagive. Conversions: Adam Hastings (4).

Toyota Cheetahs 13-17 Scarlets

By: Thapelo Molebatsi