RUGBY: Ulster rally back to finally put Southern Kings down

Southern Kings double try scorer Berton Klaasen is tackled by Sean Reidy of Ulster
Southern Kings double try scorer Berton Klaasen is tackled by Sean Reidy of Ulster

SOUTHERN KINGS 36 ULSTER 43

Ulster moved into second place in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14 with this determined win over a resilient Southern Kings in a game which saw 12 tries in total scored.

Playing their first game in South Africa since the PRO14 expanded this season, Ulster struggled in the first half against the basement side in Port Elizabeth and trailed 22-10.

But an improved second half performance - something which has been missing from Ulster in recent weeks and leave the Isaac Wolfson Stadium with a full haul of five match points.

The Kings did register their first points of the season when they scored a fourth try in the 62nd minute to secure a bonus point as well as a losing bonus point for their efforts.

The Kings had gone into this round eight game still seeking their first win of the campaign and they looked to be on their way to causing a major upset with a three-try blast in the first half.

Ulster's Mattie Rea

Ulster's Mattie Rea

Berton Klaasen and Yaw Penxe scored tries for the hosts in the opening six minutes with Oliver Zono adding one conversion for a 12-0 lead.

Sean Reidy and John Andrew both crossed for the visitors on 18 and 26 minutes, either side of a Zono penalty to leave it 15-10 with John Cooney missing both conversion attempts in the dirfficult wind.

Michael Makase crossed on 28 minutes with Zono converting to send the Kings in 22-10 ahead at the break.

Tries from Andrew and Cooney had Ulster right back in the mix, Cooney’s conversion to his own try drawing the sides level.

Klassen hit back for the Kings, Zono converting to put them 29-22 before Ulster were back on level terms when Andrew Trimble crossed and Christian Leali’ifano converted.

Ulster went ahead for the first time when Clive Ross forced his way over, Leali’ifano against converting, but five minutes from time Penxe crossed for his second try and Kurt Coleman converted to level the match again.

But Ulster’s Robbie Diack went over a minute later, Leali’ifano converted and the Irish Province went home with five points.