Kings hold off determined Border
September 02, 2011
The EP Kings managed to hold off a determined Border Bulldogs outfit before completing a 51-36 (half-time 26-12) win in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

The hosts, the First Division leaders, had their hands full against their near neighbours despite Border having won just one match this season and EP found themselves holding a narrow 31-29 lead with a quarter of the match still to play.

But two penalties from replacement flyhalf George Whitehead and tries for right wing Norman Nelson and loosehead prop Jaco Engels finally saw the home side home.

The Kings were their own worst enemies for the majority of the match anf they turned in arguably their worst performance of the season as a host of handling errors and turnovers effectively stymied much of their attacking ambition early in the match.

On a cold and windy evening in Port Elizabeth the Kings missed 16 tackles in the first 10 minutes of the game and their near-neighbours were happy to take advantage of the lapses and right wing Vuyo Mboto opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when he latched onto a loose ball after his flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa had hit the post with an attempted penalty.

The Kings finally struck back, 11 minutes later, when captain and eighthman Luke Watson, who turned in a storming performance, was mauled over for a converted try after a lineout just short of Border’s tryline.

But Border showed that they were not overawed by playing the log-leaders when Mboto was the recipient of a turnover from Engels and the nippy winger scooted over for his second try of the night after 25 minutes.

The Bulldogs, in an attempt to stifle the Kings’ powerful rolling maul, committed a number of offences and they eventually felt the wrath of referee Jaco Peyper who showed a yellow-card to left wing Onke Dubase for a professional foul with 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Kings kicked to the corner from the resulting penalty and Watson was driven over for his second try after another maul as the home side levelled the score at 12-12.

EP seemed to have taken control of the match as they ran in two more tries in the first half, through left wing Marcello Sampson and flyhalf Louis Strydom, as they reached the interval holding a 26-12 lead.

The home side stretched their lead even further, three minutes after the restart, when scrumhalf Danie Faasen took a scoring pass from Watson after a scrum close to the Bulldogs’ tryline to go over for his team’s fifth try of the game.

But, in the 47th minute, Border began their fightback as replacement flyhalf Dale Sabbagh kicked a penalty and eighthman Lubabalo Mzwakali went over between the posts after a searing break from outside centre Chumani Booi.

Sabbagh converted the try and, in the 59th minute, Booi found himself on the scorecard after EP centre Matthew Taylor-Smith threw a loose pass.

However, EP began to take advantage of Border’s indiscipline, the visitors conceded 16 penalties in the match, as Whitehead nailed two penalties and Nelson went over for a five-pointer after yet another rolling maul.

Engels then provided the highlight of the match when the burly prop burst free before setting off on a 45-metre run to score a scintillating try before there was a late consolation try for Border when Mzwakali went over for his second five-pointer.


EP Kings – Tries: Luke Watson (2), Marcello Sampson, Louis Strydom, Danie Faasen, Norman Nelson, Jaco Engels; Conversions: Strydom (3), George Whitehead (2) Penalties: Whitehead (2).

Border Bulldogs – Tries: Vuyo Mboto (2), Lubabalo Mzwakali (2), Chumani Booi; Conversions: Dale Sabbagh (3), Ntabeni Dukisa; Penalty: Sabbagh.


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