The Kings continued to defy pre-match predictions when they made the defending-champion Chiefs work hard for a 35-24 Super Rugby win.
The Chiefs outscored the home team by four tries to two, but the visitors were made to work much harder that the scoreline suggest.
The Kings suffered a blow just before kick-off, when stand-in captain Darron Nell strained a calf muscle and had to join regular captain Luke Watson on the sideline. And they lost fullback SP Marais to an injury midway through the first half. Then Steven Sykes, appointed captain just before kick-off, was forced off the field midway through the second half.
The Chiefs had injury concerns of their own, with burly No.8 Ross Filipo limping off with a leg injury just on the half-hour mark.
It took the Chiefs 10 minutes to open their account, a penalty for a late tackle which Gareth Anscombe slotted for a 3-0 lead. Three minutes later, after the Chiefs were penalised for hands in at a ruck, Demetri Catrakilis levelled the scores.
Anscombe regained the lead as the referee felt Kevin Buys sealed off the ball at a ruck.
The first try came in the 20th minute, as the Chiefs' passing game finally broke the resistance of the Kings' defence. Anscombe added the extras - 13-3.
Catrakilis pulled three points back in the 28th minute, as the Kings enjoy a spell with the ball in hand and forced a mistake by the Chiefs.
Masaga went over in the right corner soon afterwards, but the call went to the TMO - who ruled that there was no forward pass in the build-up top the try. Anscombe couldn't add the extras - 18-6.
Right on the half-time teenage wing Sergeal Petersen picked up a stray pass from the Kings and he sprinted 80 metres for his team's first try - his third Super Rugby five-pointer in a burgeoning career. Catrakilis slotted the conversion to make it 13-18 at the break.
Replacement Sam Cane opened the second-half scoring, when he forced his way over after the Chiefs had set up a ruck close to the line after a five-metre scrum. Anscombe's conversion made it 25-13 10 minutes into the half.
Masaga completed his hat-trick minutes later, as the Chiefs worked the ball down the blind side and some slick handling exposed the Kings' defence. Anscombe made it 32-13 with the conversion.
The Chiefs were reduced to 14 men when Augustine Pulu was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul and Jacques Engelbrecht managed to worm his way over from the maul, which turned into a ruck close to the line. Catrakilis couldn't add the extras, but at 18-32 and just under 20 minutes remaining there was still a glimmer of hope.
With 15 minutes to go Catrikilis added another three points and then three more with just under 10 to go - 24-32.
With five minutes left Anscombe had a shot at goal when the Kings went offside in desperation to protect their line, but the Chiefs fullback was wide of the target.
However, the fullback made amends when he slotted his third penalty with just a minute left on the clock, 35-24.
That's how it stayed to the end.
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Petersen, Engelbrecht
Pens: Catrakilis 4
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Masaga 3, Cane
Cons: Anscombe 3
Pens: Anscombe 3
Yellow card: Augustine Pulu (Chiefs, 60 - professional foul)
Southern Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Thomas Leonardi, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Andries Strauss.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)
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