Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Isuzu Southern Kings v Dragons

Avatar Charlie Talbot-Smith 5 Apr 2019

Isuzu Southern Kings and Dragons lock horns at the Madibaz Stadium on Sunday in a battle that will go a long way to deciding who avoids finishing bottom of Conference B.

What’s at stake? Only once in the past three meetings between these two sides have the Kings prevailed, the Dragons edged a high-scoring match 27-22 at Rodney Parade last September.

The Kings are currently ahead of the Dragons in the standings in Conference B, but only by a solitary point.

Both of Kings’ victories this season have come at Madibaz Stadium and their only victory over a Welsh region was against Dragons at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in March last year.

Meanwhile, the Dragons’ most recent victory in the Guinness PRO14 was by a single point against Ospreys at Rodney Parade on 30 December.

Team news (Dragons) Full-back Zane Kirchner returns to the starting line-up to face his countrymen. Former Springbok international Kirchner is one of four changes made by head coach Ceri Jones – all in the back division – for the clash at Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

A new-look centre partnership sees Adam Warren – fresh from signing a new long-term contract at Dragons – and Jack Dixon combine in midfield.

The final change to the team is a starting spot for fly-half Josh Lewis. Hooker Richard Hibbard will captain the team.

Team news (Isuzu Southern Kings) Andries “Dries” van Schalkwyk, will lead the Port Elizabeth-based side onto the field on Sunday and the experienced 34-year-old will be playing in his 100th Guinness PRO14 match.

Van Schalkwyk will be in a forward pack that will see only two changes to the team that gallantly went down to Ulster in their previous Guinness PRO14 outing a fortnight ago.

Fellow veteran, Schalk Ferreira, will be back in the starting line-up at loosehead prop where he will swap spots with youngster, Alulutho Tshakweni, who will be on the bench on Sunday.

Andisa Ntsila will also earn a spot in the starting XV, in the No.6 jersey where he replaces Henry “Bakkies” Brown.

In the backline, centre Harlon Klaasen returns to the team where he will pair up with Tertius Kruger for the midfield partnership, while the nippy and elusive Masixole Banda will regain his starting berth, exchanging spots with Ulrich Beyers, who will start on the bench this week.

Talking points

Kings head coach Deon Davids said: “We are going all out to get positive results in the remaining three games.

“I think we owe that to ourselves. The Dragons, together with Ospreys and the Cheetahs – all of whom we still need to play, are three formidable teams.

“The Dragons seem to be on an upward curve if you look at their run in the last five games. So it is going to be a tough game for us. But being at home and having the opportunity to play at home should give us a boost.”

Dragons head coach Ceri Jones said: “We’ve had a good first few days in South Africa, with a fantastic training base in Port Elizabeth at Nelson Mandela University, and the players are looking forward to getting into the games.

“We are determined to try and get that away win, but also aware of the challenge we face against the Kings, a team close to us in the league standings.

“The Kings are one of the most dangerous sides in the competition when it gets loose with a very talented and quick back three. We respect them and we know what we need to do.

“We are looking forward to getting started. We have named a squad with enough talent and experience to be able to achieve – we just need to go out and deliver.”

Key battle Yaw Penxe v Hallam Amos

Yaw Penxe is the front runner for this year’s Dacia Iron Man Award in the Guinness PRO14.

His 1397 minutes are more than any other player in the league and the winger will be hoping to terrorise the Dragons all afternoon on Sunday.

Up against him will be Hallam Amos, who will be keen to end his Dragons career on a high before heading to the Cardiff Blues next season.

Key stat – The two sides have met on three previous occasions, all games being won by the home side on the day, including the Kings’ first-ever win in the competition.

Did you know? Dragons have not won away from home in the Championship for over four years, since beating Benetton in Treviso.

Isuzu Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Harlon Klaasen, Tertius Kruger, Bjorn Basson, Bader Pretorius, Stefan Ungerer, Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse, De-Jay Terblanche, Andries van Schalkwyk, John-Charles Astle, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm
Replacements: Alandre Van Rooyen, Alulutho Tshakweni, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Greeff, Stephan De Wit, Rudi Van Rooyen, Berton Klaasen, Ulrich Beyers

Dragons: Zane Kirchner, Jared Rosser, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos, Josh Lewis, Rhodri Williams; Brok Harris, Richard Hibbard (c), Leon Brown, Max Williams, Matthew Screech, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Ryan Bevington, Lloyd Fairbrother, Huw Taylor, Lennon Greggains, Tavis Knoyle, Jason Tovey, Jordan Williams

TV: At Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 3pm. Live on eir Sport, SuperSport, Free Sports & DAZN

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 23rd competition game) Assistant Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU), Paul Mente (SARU) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU) Citing Commissioner: Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe (SARU)

The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Late Lewis penalty earns Dragons a dramatic draw

Avatar Charlie Talbot-Smith 7 Apr 2019

Josh Lewis held his nerve with a late penalty to earn the Dragons a share of the spoils in a dramatic draw with Isuzu Southern Kings on Sunday.

In the battle at the bottom of Conference B in the Guinness PRO14, the Dragons came roaring out of the blocks as Adam Warren crossed and Lewis kicked a penalty.

But the hosts – whose only win over a Welsh region was against the Dragons in the same fixture last season – responded swiftly.

Stefan Ungerer went over and then created Bjorn Basson’s try – both of which went unconverted on a blustery day at the Madibaz Stadium.

The Kings led 13-8 at the break after a Bader Pretorius penalty and stretched their lead when Harlon Klaasen went over at the start of the second.

But back came the Dragons, replacement Jordan Williams dancing over for a fine solo score before the hour mark.

And in the final quarter, ill discipline plagued the occasion as at one point both sides had two men each in the sin bin before Lewis held his nerve to slot a 78th minute penalty and secure an 18-18 draw.

The Dragons wait for a first away league win in four years goes on and the Kings stay a point ahead of them in the Conference standings.

FAST START

The Dragons came roaring out of the blocks with some lovely offloading and had the game’s first try inside two minutes.

Lewis produced a clever dink into the corner and the bounce was kind, sitting up for Hallam Amos who offloaded to Warren to go over in the corner.

The try was a fine reward for Warren in a week that he also signed a new deal with the Dragons, although Lewis pulled the conversion on a blustery day in Port Elizabeth.

Lewis did add a penalty for an early 8-0 lead but gradually the Kings grew into the contest.

After a number of close range burst to the line, eventually Ungerer showed good awareness to dive over the ruck and dot down.

Masixole Banda was off with the extras but a second try soon followed, Ungerer turning provider down the left wing with a clever grubber that sat up for Basson to go over.

Banda again missed the conversion but Pretorius did add a penalty before the break to open up a 13-8 lead.

SECOND HALF SALVO

The Dragons had been wasteful in the first half, Amos and Warren wasting a golden chance down the left before Rhodri Williams and Jack Dixon messed up a four on one down the right.

In the second period they kept coming, turning down a kickable penalty to build the phases close to the Kings line.

But the hosts held them at bay and then struck up the other end, Klaasen bursting clear down the left to stretch the hosts’ lead to 18-8.

The Dragons needed a response and Jordan Williams provided it, coming off the bench and dancing his way through the middle for an amazing solo score.

Both front rows were then penalised as Leon Brown and Alulutho Tshakweni saw yellow, before Lloyd Fairbrother followed them into the bin for a dangerous clear out.

Michael Makase was not far behind for tackling Williams in the air and the Dragons though they had hit the front soon after.

Amos got clear down the left and put Rhodri Williams over but it was ruled a forward pass from Jack Dixon in the build-up and the Kings survived, leading 18-15.

Scrums were uncontested with so many men in the bin, but when both sides came back to full complement the Dragons turned the screw at a scrum and won the penalty that Lewis slotted for a share of the spoils.

The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138