All good things must come to an end. However, Edinburgh probably never envisaged how their seven-match unbeaten run would be so abruptly halted by a team they had put 38 points on just three weeks ago at Murrayfield.

Nor would they think the Southern Kings would pinch victory in a game they were outplayed in by scoring two tries in the closing minutes.

If that was the unexpected part, then the unacceptable component was the input from Welsh referee Dan Jones, whose indecision on big calls – namely on calls of discipline and deliberate disruption – were at best weak, at worst beyond him.

Richard Cockerill didn’t make too much of Jones' calls after the match in Port Elizabeth. It’s not his style.

But for the neutral, and those who want to see Pro14 excel in every facet, Jones’ performance was a let-down.

Asked about the referee’s reticence to take action for what was going on in the scrum, Cockerill admitted: “It’s standard really. You play how you play and you try to be positive around your set-piece.

"But we’ve seen it over the season that you don’t get the reward you are meant to.

"The penalty count in our favour was pretty high, but that’s what you have to deal with.”

Ironically, while the Kings were repeat offenders, James Johnstone received a yellow card for a somewhat innocuous first offence.

“That’s just where we are at with referees in this competition,” Cockerill reflected. "He’s a good young referee and he is learning.

"But when you get into that situation where they just infringe constantly around the scrum and the line-out drive, I don’t know the answer. You’ll have to speak to Greg Garner [the elite referee manager for Pro14]. But we don’t get any reward from it [the set-piece] and those parts. They are what they are.”

Cockerill, though, appeared more let down with how Edinburgh allowed this one to slip away.

“We did enough to win the game, and then you conceded two tries with five or six minutes to go. And you get what you deserve.

“It was an opportunity for us to get ahead of the guys around about us and we missed that opportunity. Nobody but ourselves to blame.

"The two teams battled hard, and Kings did some pretty good things and we congratulate them on that.

"However, we can’t blame the referee or anything like that. We had our opportunities to win the game and we just didn’t take them.

“We had multiple opportunities in the first half to score, and we didn’t. And in and around that there is some refereeing where he just penalises, and penalises and penalises them, but doesn’t take anyone away from the field. But then made our own errors, and turned the ball over too much.

“We got what we deserved in the end. That’s our own fault.”

His point was valid. It was as if all the errors and blunders Cockerill’s side had eliminated through December and into January had been shipped out to the Cape and lobbed into this game.

As a result, at half time, the home side inexplicably led 13-7.

Kings were first on the board, Bjorn Basson chipping behind the cover defence and winning the foot race for the touchdown. Full-back Masixole Banda converted for 7-0, cancelled out when Henry Pyrgos flipped a pass-back inside for Chris Dean to cross, Jaco van der Walt adding the extras.

Banda kicked two penalties in the lead-up to the interval, during an error-riddled half when Edinburgh at one point enjoyed two-thirds of the possession and Kings made three times as manly tackles.

The second half began with Edinburgh camped in Kings territory for all of quarter of an hour, an interlude that saw them work through 32 phases only for Pietro Ceccarelli to knock on.

Eventually, and not before time, CJ Velleman was yellow-carded for pulling down a maul. When the five-metre scrum disintegrated, a penalty try was awarded. Ross Ford, a stabilising force when introduced, was bundled over for a try and a 21-13 lead.

Game over? No, game on.

Johnstone was yellow-carded for killing the ball, then Bader Pretorous scored, Banda kicked the goal. At 21-20, Edinburgh still led with four minutes left. Kings needed but seconds.

Meli Rokoua galloped from deep, found winger Yaw Penxe with a Mata-esque offload, and he sped over to give the Conference basement side a first win of 2019. A sore one for Edinburgh on all fronts.