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Disappointing starts for SA Pro14 teams

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Both teams started off their clashes competitively, but they fell off the pace as the opposition made better use of their try-scoring opportunities

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The Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings got their Guinness Pro14 seasons off to a disappointing start over the weekend as their best efforts left them short on the scoreboard against Munster and Zebre Rugby Club respectively.

Both teams started off their clashes competitively, but they fell off the pace as the opposition made better use of their try-scoring opportunities.

The Cheetahs tried hard to make their presence felt against Munster in Limerick, but their limited possession and turnovers at crucial times cost them dearly with the team suffering a 38-0 defeat.

Munster attacked at will throughout the match, and although the Free Stater’s did well to shut them out early on, they were unable to continue this for the full 80 minutes, which saw the hosts and 2017 semi-finalists run in six tries to none after holding a slender 12-0 half-time lead.

The Southern Kings also delivered a determined display against Zebre Rugby Club in Parma, where they found themselves trailing 10-7 after 15 minutes as Mikey Botha scored a try to cancel out the one by Zebre’s Oliviero Fabiani.

The home team, however, scored another try shortly before the break to hand them a 17-7 lead and they added two more after the break, while the men from Port Elizabeth opted for three second-half penalty goals by Coyi Banda as they battled to breach the defence, which saw them go down 34-16.

In the other matches, defending champions Leinster pipped the Cardiff Blues 33-32 at Cardiff Arms Park and Ospreys held on for a 17-13 victory against Edinburgh in Swansea on Friday.

In Saturday’s matches, Connacht Rugby suffered a heartbreaking 27-26 defeat against the Glasgow Warriors in Galway; Ulster got the best of the Scarlets 15-13 in Belfast, and the Dragons went down 17-21 against Benetton Rugby in Newport.

ANA