Two time Super Rugby champions the Chiefs got their 2016 campaign back on track by beating the Southern Kings 24-58 in Port Elizabeth.
The Chiefs opened their Super Rugby campaign with a victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch but were then beaten last week at their Hamilton home by Johannesburg’s Lions.
The Southern Kings have played just two matches – as they had a bye last week – but have yet to win a match this year.
The victory is the first time that a New Zealand team has earned the try bonus point under the new rules implemented for this season.
The Chiefs outscored the Kings by seven tries to two which moves them to the top of the New Zealand Conference.
The Chiefs fly to Argentina now as they play the Jaguares in Buenos Aires next week and the Southern Kings head the opposite way to New Zealand where they will face seven time champions the Crusaders.
Damien McKenzie was named man of the match and the official attendance figure was 7768.
Chiefs full-back McKenzie became the highest individual scorer in a Super Rugby match this season with 28 points.
The 20-year-old New Zealander with a pain-stakingly slow goal-kicking method kicked seven conversions and three penalties from 10 goal attempts at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
McKenzie surpassed the 23 points of Robert du Preez for Stormers against Bulls in a South African derby two weekends ago.
His flawless show, which also included a try, took him to 57 points three matches into the season — 14 points more than second-place Christian Leali’ifano of the Brumbies.
McKenzie was the star of a workmanlike Chiefs’ performance that makes them the highest scorers in Super Rugby after round 3 with 117 points, two more than Brumbies.
The Kings now also have the unwanted distinction of being the first of the 18 contenders in the expanded competition to concede more than 100 points.
By halftime, the Chiefs had taken a 27-17 lead and up to that stage, the Kings had shown a huge improvement on last week’s performance against the Sharks who ran out 42-8 winners then.
Thirteen minutes from the end, the Kings’ woes worsened when their substitute hooker Martin Bezuidenhout was yellow-carded and the Chiefs rubbed salt into the wounds with a try two minutes later, through fullback Martin Bezuidenhout, who eventually contributed 28 points in his side’s winning cause.
Final Score Southern Kings 24 (17) Chiefs 58 (27)
Tries – E. Marutlulle 2
Pen – L.Fouche 4
Con – L.Fouche
Cards – M.Bezuidenhout (68th min yellow)
Tries – S.Cane 2, D.McKenzie, T.Seu, C.Ngatai, A.Cruden, G.Fisiiahi
Pen – D.McKenzie 3
Con – D.McKenzie 7
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2:Rodney Bonaparte
TMO :Johan Greeff
Attendance : 7768
15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Luzuko Vulindlu, 13. Stefan Watermeyer, 12. Shane Gates, 11. Malcolm Jaer, 10. Louis Fouche, 9. Ntando Kebe, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. John Charles Astle, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Edgar Marutlulle, 1. Schalk Ferreira
Replacments : 16. Sithembiso (Sti) Sithole, 17. Martin Bezuidenhout, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Schalk Oelofse, 20. Cyril-John Velleman, 21. Kevin Luiters, 22. Elgar Watts, 23. Jaco van Tonder
1. Mitchell Graham , 2. Rhys Marshall , 3. Siate Tokolahi , 4. Michael Allardice , 5. Johan Bardoul , 6. Taleni Seu , 7. Sam Cane (cc) , 8. Michael Leitch , 9. Brad Weber , 10. Aaron Cruden (cc) , 11. James Lowe , 12. Charlie Ngatai , 13. Seta Tamanivalu , 14. Glen Fisiiahi , 15. Damian McKenzie
Replacements : 16. Hika Elliot , 17. Pauliasi Manu , 18. Atu Moli** , 19. James Tucker** , 20. Maama Vaipulu , 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow , 22. Anton Lienert-Brown , 23. Sam McNicol*
*denotes Chiefs debut
**denotes Super Rugby debutant