Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

There has been a timely word of encouragement for the Southern Kings after their heavy 57-10 defeat against Scarlets on their PRO14 debut.

They leaked 42 unanswered second-half points after holding their own against the champions in the opening half of a fast-paced showdown in Llanelli.

Despite his team’s big win, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said that the Kings had been a handful in the first half when his team could only build a 15-10 lead.

That first-half display by the Kings included a try by speedster Yaw Penxe after a clever kick from flyhalf Kurt Coleman.

"You can see the Kings have a lot of talent. They ran strongly into contact and were a handful," Pivac said.

"We stood off them a bit in the first half and paid the price. We addressed that at half-time and in the second half, we were also far more patient with the ball," he said.

"We tried to force too much in the first half, looking for the miracle ball and trying to score from nothing. Our pass accuracy was much better in the second half."

The Scarlets lost their first three matches in 2016 before embarking on a winning streak that saw them lift the trophy in Dublin.

"It is certainly a better start than last season and that is what we have been targeting for these first three games," Pivac said.

Wales and British Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny, a summer signing from Toulon, claimed one of the Scarlets’ eight tries. "Leigh loved it out there, he had a smile on his face after the game," Pivac said.

"He scored a try and got his hands on the ball a hell of a lot. He will be much better for that."

The Kings are now in Galway preparing for their second game against Connacht on Saturday.

The Kings medical staff said that apart from the usual bumps and bruises, they had no serious injuries to report.

Meanwhile, Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan was upbeat despite his team losing 42-19 and conceding six tries to Ulster on their introduction to PRO14.

"It was an experience getting the first game out of the way," Duncan said. "Obviously, the end-result was not quite what we wanted. Still it’s great to be part of this competition."

Duncan said the Cheetahs’ discipline had let them down with Henco Venter and Johan Coetzee yellow-carded.

"We conceded some tries during the yellow-card period, which put us under pressure. Obviously, it’s not ideal playing with 14 men for 20 minutes in the game, but that’s also part of the sport. I think Ulster played really well, so hats off to them, they had a really good game," Duncan said.

The Free Staters play Munster in their second game on Saturday.

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