Kings still unbeaten
September 10, 2011
The EP Kings' unbeaten record came under extreme pressure before they came out of Welkom with a narrow 21-19 (halftime 11-16) victory over the Tasol Solar Griffons in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the North-West Stadium on Saturday.

Even though the Kings went to Welkom without several first-choice players, it was still an exceptional effort by the Griffons, who have won just once this season.

The Kings started well, quickly getting on to the scoreboard in the fifth minute through a try by pacy wing Marcello Sampson, but a fine forward effort by the Griffons saw them dominate territory for much of the first half, allowing flyhalf Tiaan van Wyk to kick three penalties.

Louis Strydom then regained an 11-9 lead for the Kings with two penalties of his own, but the halftime advantage would be the Griffons' as they scored a marvellous try three minutes before the break.

The Griffons transferred the ball rapidly between backs and forwards, eighthman Willie Britz rounding off clinically and Van Wyk converting to make the halftime score 16-9 to the home side. Britz was playing at the back of the scrum because regular eighthman, the imposing Nicky Steyn, withdrew injured just before the start, although the late change would not be too disruptive for the Griffons.

The second half hissed with ferocity under the hot Northern Free State sun and Van Wyk stretched the lead to 19-11 with a drop goal in the opening minutes.

The Griffons looked in control, matching the Kings up front and defending superbly, for much of the first half and their in-your-face approach rattled and frustrated the log-leaders.

The Kings kept their discipline, however, and also defended well and they were the next to score when they eventually won a shot at goal in the 72nd minute, which flyhalf Strydom kicked (14-19).

The visitors remained on attack, driving strongly with their forwards and when they powered over the line, it was wing Joe Breytenbach who emerged from the bottom of the maul with the ball and the honour of scoring the crucial try, which became the match-winner when Strydom succeeded with a bit of a knee-trembler of a conversion, 15 metres in from the touchline.

While Sampson was the most exciting runner on the field with ball in hand, fullback SP Marais, eighthman Darron Nell and prop Jaco Engels were also prominent for Eastern Province.

Wing Virgil Russell and scrumhalf Enrico Schultz were the Griffons' best players, before both left the field with injuries.


Tasol Solar Griffons - Try: Willie Britz. Conversion: Tiaan van Wyk. Penalties: Van Wyk (3). Drop goal: Van Wyk.

EP Kings - Tries: Marcello Sampson, Joe Breytenbach. Conversion: Louis Strydom. Penalties: Strydom (3).


Copyright - SA Rugby. All Rights Reserved - Photos by Gallo Images