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Kings too good for Bulldogs
Duane Heath
MWP
July 22, 2011
The Eastern Province Kings proved too strong and swift for the Border Bulldogs in their Currie Cup First Division match at East London's Buffalo City Stadium on Friday night, romping to a handsome 62-15 (halftime 31-10) win.

By halftime the Kings had handed themselves a handy lead but not before the Bulldogs, led by captain and hooker Matthew Taljard, who played a blinder, came back hard at them.

The Kings were on sustained attack from the kick-off and got on the board when centre Jaco Bekker knifed through for a try converted by flyhalf George Whitehead.

The Bulldogs answered immediately with a penalty by flyhalf Dale Sabbagh.

It was evident both teams were fired up for the game and Border had clearly been told to get in their first times tackles. But a 45-metre try to speedy Kings left wing Marcello Sampson found the home defence wanting and by the 14th minute the Bulldogs were 14-3 down.

Border were in further trouble when towering lock Barend Pieterse powered over from a lineout maul; then a dreadful Bulldogs mistake when on attack saw Bekker sprint over for his second try and a 24-3 lead after just 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs were further stunned when Sampson scored yet again but to their credit the home side found courage and began to test the Kings’ defence through attacking play by forwards and backs, with flanker Ben Venter and prop Armon Fourie catching the eye.

The Bulldogs were finally rewarded in the 35th minute when fullback Ntabeni Dukisa broke the line before sending wing Byron McGuigan over for a converted try with five minutes remaining to end a bruising first half.

The question being asked at the break was, could the Bulldogs make up the deficit or would the Kings run away with things in the final 40 minutes? It proved to be the latter, with the Bulldogs unable to stay up with the pace of the game, while also having replacement lock Samora Fihlani yellow carded.

It was again the Kings who dominated the early stages and most of the half with Whitehead and lock Wayne Van Heerden let in for soft tries while the Bulldogs lost Venter and centre Dwayne Jenner to injury.

Further tries by hooker Hannes Franklin, Sampson and Whitehead ended the rout although to their credit the Bulldogs fought to the end, McGuigan getting in for a consolation try near the end.

Scorers:

EP Kings 62 – Tries: Jaco Bekker (2), Marcello Sampson (3), Barend Pieterse, Wayne van Heerden, Hannes Franklin, George Whitehead (2). Conversions: Whitehead (6).

Border Bulldogs 15 – Tries: Byron McGuigan (2). Conversion: Dale Sabbagh. Penalty: Sabbagh.

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