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Thread: First Pro14 match in South Africa attracts sparse attendance in Port Elizabeth

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    First Pro14 match in South Africa attracts sparse attendance in Port Elizabeth

    The debate about the merits of the inclusion of the South African franchises in the newly minted Guinness Pro14 league will be reconstituted after this match played in front of a handful of spectators in the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth.

    There didnít look to be more than a couple of hundred people in the stadium and on the evidence of the performance that the Southern Kings mustered itís hard to blame those who stayed away. The general standard was awful at times.

    Mitigation was offered for the Kings in playing their first couple of matches away from home but the optics on their home debut in the competition looked dreadful. The home side was a liability in possession for most of the match against opponents that only discovered some attacking cohesion in the second 40-minutes.

    It is worrying for the Kings and the tournament that a Leinster team shorn of so many front-line players can produce a fitful performance, largely based on their post interval efforts and still romp to victory.

    The Irish province won as they pleased in the end and could have tagged on a couple more tries but it wonít camouflage a display that only really got going after the interval.

    Leinster relied heavily on individual performances, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Jack Conan, Noel Reid and Andrew Porterconspicuous in their work but from the team collective there is much work to be done.

    The consolation will come in that a young, inexperienced side, didnít succumb to the distractions of the build-up and managed to squirrel away the five points but the standards will have to rise appreciably if they are to get past the Cheetahs next weekend.

    Leinster had significant problems at the breakdown in the opening 40-minutes, the ball-carrier getting isolated and this was compounded by some poor clear-outs that allowed the Southern Kings to either poach possession or force penalties for not releasing.

    It meant that the visitors lacked continuity and this prevented them from being able to build pressure. The slightly disjointed nature of their back play could be partially attributable to some new units within the team but some of the handling was nevertheless shoddy.

    The Leinster coaching team will also be disappointed with some of the first-up tackling and against a better side than the Kings it might have been more costly; the visitors missed a whopping 18 in the first half.

    Slipshod handling undermined the attacking gambits of the home side and despite dominating in terms of possession and position on the pitch they simply made too many errors.

    They were also a little one dimensional, taking contact when there was space on the outside against a Leinster side that got a little narrow at times. The general standard of fare was poor for the most part.

    A number of Leinster players were playing their first match of the season and it showed, particularly in the substandard rucking. When the visitors did secure possession, they frittered it away with some ropey passing and questionable decision-making.

    They did score the only try of the half on nine minutes. It would have come slightly earlier if Joey Carbery had timed and directed his pass to Adam Byrnea little better but from the ruck Reid showed good strength and appreciation to force his way over. Ross Byrne added the conversion.

    The Kings had taken the lead earlier when fullback Masixole Banda landed a penalty from 28 metres after just three minutes. The home side continued to dominate possession for the most part, Leinster reduced to some sporadic moments of clarity and execution but never enough to threaten adding to their points tally.

    Ryan provided some nice offloads to augment his work at the lineout. Conan carried powerfully, captain Rhys Ruddock worked hard, while McGrath was superbly aggressive in the tackle and made a couple of nice breaks; but these were largely individual moments.

    Two minutes after the restart Leinster showed what they are capable of when they upped their accuracy. Jordi Murphy won a turnover penalty at a ruck and from the lineout, a succession of Leinster players carried aggressively supplemented by precise clearing out.

    Sean Cronin made a half-break in the shadow of the posts and then Rory OíLoughlin picked his way past some dreadful tackling to dot down; Ross Byrne could not improve upon the try with the conversion but at 12-3, the visitors had the early momentum they craved.

    They claimed a third try within five minutes, Conan barging past an insipid tackle after some excellent work in the build-up by Andrew Porter. Byrne posted the conversion and did so again on 51-minutes, this time from the touchline as Leinster racked up a four-try bonus, when Carbery crossed in the corner.

    Leinster might have had another try and a second for Carbery, following a Reid interception but Cian Healy was correctly pulled back for a knock on in the build-up.

    What followed might end up on a bloopers reel as the Kings contrived not to score when on three separate occasions it looked as if they must; handling errors letting them down each time.

    The game had become disjointed with the raft of replacements, the error-rate spiralling. Leinster crossed for a fifth try, Cathal Marsh, running a nice line on a wraparound and Dave Kearney finishing smartly in the corner, the visitorsí slickest passage of play of the match.

    The Kings finally managed to cross the Leinster line with five minutes remaining through a try from replacement Jacques Nel, converted by Kurt Coleman but it will come as scant consolation.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rug...ings-1.3223825

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    3011 was the attendance, i saw it in another article yesterday.

    Porterconspicuous, thats a helluva name right there. Or it could be a typo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahard View Post
    3011 was the attendance, i saw it in another article yesterday.

    Porterconspicuous, thats a helluva name right there. Or it could be a typo.
    Shembeckler still trumps it.

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    If there are 3,000 people at that game then I'll eat my hat.

    Name:  kings.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    If there are 3,000 people at that game then I'll eat my hat.

    Name:  kings.jpg
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    No wonder the ZA Government demanded a franchise in the Eastern Cape. Hard to ignore that many fans banging the door down.

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    The Guinness PRO14ís African adventure turned into an embarrassing damp squib with a claimed attendance of just 3,011 turning up for the opening match on the continent.

    Thatís how many officially came through the gate at Port Elizabethís 46,000 Nelson Mandela Stadium for Southern Kingsí historic clash with tournament powerhouses Leinster, although those who were there questioned that figure.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/r...nyone-13630530

    They must have counted ground staff and the players too. Theres only 500 in that photo.

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    Champion Contributor sandgroperrugby's Avatar
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    Looks like they are using the same ticketing and seating counting software that the Rebels used this year.

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    Generally speaking you arenít learning much if your lips are moving!!!

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    corporates must have had a fair few people then. or they counted the teams and the staff who were working there as well

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    Geographically if we could have got in this comp we would have packed NIB with all the Irish and uk expats.. sigh

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    Disappointing as it would be good to see the South Africans moving into Europe succeed to move the end of Super Rugby closer.
    A little surprising given how entertaining the Kings were to watch this year. Also surprising how poor their results have been given how competitive they were in Super Rugby. I guess they didn't manage to retain a few of their key players to back up the Super Rugby season with a season of Pro 14.

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    Maybe SR is not as good as we like to think!
    Just saying 😜😜

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahard View Post

    They must have counted ground staff and the players too. Theres only 500 in that photo.
    More rubbery figures. Whole process is becoming a joke. But not as funny as this lot....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WkwReHGpnQ

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    Champion chibi's Avatar
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    Saw the tweet the other day, I think one of the Leinster players said it was only 500 people!

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