Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Southern Kings captain Michael Willemse says his team have to bounce back after being thumped 57-10 by the Scarlets in their PRO14 debut in Wales.

Despite the one-sided scoreline at Parc y Scarlets arena in Llanelli, Willemse said the hastily assembled Kings had the ability to regroup against Connacht in Galway on Saturday.

But the captain admitted errors were made and that the Kings needed to go back to the drawing board before the Connacht clash.

At half-time the Kings were still in the game, but they were blown away by a powerful second-half display by the Scarlets who scored 42 points.

SA made its PRO14 debut on Friday when the Cheetahs were beaten 42-19 by Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Things had looked promising early on for the Kings when wing Yaw Penxe scored a try which allowed his team to take a 7-5 lead after Kurt Coleman converted. Scarlets, the defending champions, led 15-10 at the break against the South African new boys.

While Kings head coach Deon Davids was forced to scramble to put together a side, his opposite number Wayne Pivac was able to field 10 Welsh internationals, a Scottish captain and no fewer than 12 of the starting XV that won the 2016 title in Dublin.

The home team was relentless after half-time and outscored the Kings by eight tries to one in front of 9,108 fans. Though the scoreboard had a lopsided look to it when referee Frank Murphy blew the final whistle, the crowd were treated to an entertaining spectacle with the Kings never short  on endeavour.

Davids had warned that things could hardly get worse after playing the champions in the opener and his assessment proved to be correct.

"Ja, we are a little disappointed about that result. You can see they have had a good pre-season and we have a lot to work on. I don’t think they played particularly better than us. We have to iron out those silly errors like knock-ons here and there. The Scarlets were good at capitalising on those knock-ons. They have a brilliant back three and they really punished us when we knocked on in the middle.

"I believe in my boys and I really think we will be able to bounce back from this one.

"We will be putting out everything against Connact and hopefully we will … show what we are truly made of," he said.

British and Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny scored one of Scarlets’ eight tries and kicked nine points on his debut. After first-half tries from McNicholl and Halfpenny, Scarlets piled on the misery for the Kings with Rhys Patchell, Jake Ball, Emyr Phillips, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans and McNicholl all crossing the whitewash.

Connacht slipped to a 18-12 defeat to Glasgow Warriors in Galway on Saturday.

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