Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Southern Kings vs Dragons

Will Thompson 2 Mar 2018
Dragons

Dragons head to South Africa this weekend for the first time in the Guinness PRO14 to face a Southern Kings team eager to improve from a defeat in the previous round.

The Kings return to home soil after three games in Europe, and the last time a Welsh team travelled to Nelson Mandela Bay there was only four points in it, with Kings pushing Scarlets all the way to a 30-34 finish.

What’s at stake

Southern Kings currently sit bottom of Conference B with only four points and will be desperate to triumph at least once before the end of the season.

With only five rounds left, Dragons are also in need of the points as they sit only one place above Kings on 17 points.

The gap from these two teams to the rest of the pack maybe unbridgeable, but every win is essential now to improve the positions at the business end of the season.

Team news (Southern Kings)

There are minimal changes to the starting XV that took a 64-7 defeat from Leinster last time out, with only a few differences among replacements.

Head coach Deon Davids decided to keep faith with the bulk of the players who started against Leinster last weekend, with only a single change in the backline as Masixole Banda returns in place of Yaw Penxe.

In the pack, Andisa Ntsila returns to his favoured position at number 6 from the number eight spot he occupied last week, and Ruaan Lerm returns to the starting line-up at No 8.
On the bench, experienced fly-half Kurt Coleman, forward Dries Van Schalkwyk, and scrum-half Godlen Masimla re-join the match day 23.

Team news (Dragons)

Dragons have made six personnel changes and one positional change for the match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.
Head coach Bernard Jackman has moved versatile back Zane Kirchner to the full-back position from centre as he joins Ashton Hewitt, who has recovered from a foot injury, and Jared Rosser in the back three.

There are no changes to the front or second row, two changes have been made to the back row as flankers Harri Keddie and Ollie Griffiths join skipper Lewis Evans.

Talking points

Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids said:

“Every team in an international competition like this presents a tough challenge and the Dragons are no different but I expect a strong reaction from my team to last week’s blowout against Leinster.

“Everyone is determined to make up for what was a bad day at the office.

“We’ve played really well at times this season and it’s now time we put in an 80-minute performance at that level.

“If we execute properly and cut down on some basic errors then we’ll be in with a shout. Errors at this level are severely punished.”

Key battle – Jarryd Sage v Berton Klassen

Returning to his old club, Jarryd Sage will have unfinished business and want to prove his development to Davids.

Speaking before the game, Sage said he wants to show the Kings what they lost, so will be raring to get his hands on the ball.

Hoping to stop the South African is fellow countryman Berton Klassen, who lines up opposite Sage on Friday night.

Key stat: Bernard Jackman’s men have not won away from home in the Championship since a visit to Treviso in March 2015.

Did you know? Dragons most recent victory in the Guinness PRO14 was when they met Southern Kings in Newport in round 5.

Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Michael Makase, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Anthonie Volmink, Martin Du Toit, Rowan Gouws, Schalk Ferreira, Michael Willemse (C), Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Greeff, Bobby De Wee, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm.

Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Johan Smith, Luvuyo Pupuma, Lindokuhle Welemu, Andries Van Schalkwyk, Godlen Masimla, Kurt Coleman, Jacques Nel.

Dragons: Zane Kirchner, Ashton Hewitt, Jarryd Sage, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser, Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius, Sam Hobbs, Liam Belcher, Leon Brown, Joe Davies, Rynard Landman, Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths, Lewis Evans (c).

Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Gerard Ellis, Lloyd Fairbrother, Max Williams, James Benjamin, Dan Babos, Connor Edwards, Rio Dyer.

Referee: Quinton Immelman (SARU, 9th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Rodney Boneparte (SARU)

Citing Commissioner: Nomsebenzie Tsotsobe

TMO: Shaun Veldsman

TV: SuperSport

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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

Southern Kings secure first Guinness PRO14 win

Charlie Bennett 2 Mar 2018

Luzuko Vulindlu scored two tries as the Southern Kings made Guinness PRO14 history by securing their first ever league win against the Dragons.

The visitors led 10-0 thanks to a try from Dorian Jones but the Kings, who had lost all of their other league games this season, turned on the style with Vulindlu at the heart of everything they did.

He scored their first try of the night, while there were further efforts for Masixole Banda, Ruaan Lerm,  Anthony Volmink and Bobby de Wee.

They stay bottom of Conference B but have closed the gap between them and the Dragons ahead of their next game against Benetton Rugby.

With the cold weather forcing all of the Guinness PRO14 games in Europe to be called off, there were extra eyes on the Kings and Dragons.

And the away side made a fast start with kicker Jones sending a penalty sailing through the posts in the opening few minutes.

The Kings struggled to break down the Dragons’ stubborn defence, although full-back Banda was a menace every time he galloped forward.

However, it was the Dragons who scored the first try of the match with fly-half Jones sprinting through after a neat off-load ten metres from the tryline.

That sparked the Kings into life and they scored their first try of the match just eight minutes before the break.

With a line-out five metres from the line, the forwards sucked Dragons defenders in and Vulindlu burst through from close range.

Jones slotted through another Dragons penalty but the Kings had the momentum and the lead at the break.

Banda beat two defenders before kicking ahead and the ball bounced kindly for him to score.

The Dragons were shell-shocked and the Kings maintained their intensity after the break with a stunning length-of-the-field try.

Kurt Coleman was the architect, evading two tackles in his own 22 before sprinting clear and supplying Vulindlu to run in unopposed.

A bonus point was secured shortly after as De Wee counter-rucked superbly in the Dragons’ 22 and when the ball went wide No.8 Lerm was left with a simple finish.

The Dragons dominated territory and possession in the second half but could not break through the Kings’ stubborn defence.

And they were picked off again before the end as Volmink touched down the Kings’ fifth try of the night before De Wee bulldozed over for his first career try.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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