Kings run riot against Griffons
Duane Heath
July 29, 2011
The EP Kings weren't in a charitable mood on Friday night, running in 11 tries in a 67-26 (halftime 36-7) victory over the Griffons in an Absa Currie Cup First Division match played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The visitors scored four tries themselves, suggesting that this was a carefree romp for both teams, but such a presumption couldn't have been further from the truth.

This was a massacre right from the opening minutes, when the Kings asserted themselves at scrum time with devastating consequences.

As early as the fourth minute the Griffons pack found themselves going backwards at a rate of knots on their own ball, resulting in the first, but not the last, tighthead of the game.

Sensing their opponents' weak underbelly, the Kings forwards climbed in with relish and the result was a bonus point within 23 minutes against opposition who tried manfully to the end, but who just couldn't come to terms with the sustained intensity of the home side.

Playing in front of a small but boisterous crowd of just 3 000 brave souls who elected to shiver away on a freezing cold night, captain courageous Luke Watson gave an outstanding, man-of-the-match performance that set an example for his teammates to follow.

Watson did everything that was expected of him and then some: he carried well, was superb on defence, marshalled his troops with aplomb, and even got onto the scoresheet.

But then so did six other members of his team, with the lion's share of tries going to wings Marcello Sampson, who bagged a hat-trick, and Norman Nelson, who grabbed a brace.

The avalanche started in the seventh minute when the Griffons lost a scrum on their own line, and then had to watch on as EP used the front-foot ball they got with telling precision, fullback SP Marais going over in the corner.

Centre Jaco Bekker got the first of his two tries just a few minutes later, when, from inside his own 22, that man Watson raced upfield, chipped over the defence, regathered and spread the ball out wide to Bekker.

Flyhalf George Whitehead, who would finish with six successful conversions, made it 12-0 in as many minutes before Bekker got his second, thanks to a darting run by Nelson from a ruck.

Sampson gave his team the bonus point with his first of the night, after Whitehead had done a 'Watson' and regathered his own chip. The former UCT wing then got a second on the half hour, followed by another to scrumhalf Falie Oelschig, to make it 36-0.

The outgunned Griffons finally got onto the scoreboard in the dying seconds of the half, wing Ricardo Pietersen diving over for flyhalf Jannie Myburgh to convert.

The second half didn't see a let-up in the scoring stakes, with Nelson, Watson, centre Siyanda Grey, Sampson again, and Nelson again, all crossing the line.

The Griffons, to their credit, "never gave up", as the saying goes, with tries to inexhaustible eighthman Nicky Steyn, scrumhalf Enrico Schultz and replacement back Tertius Maarman giving the visitors the small consolation of knowing they can board the bus back to Welkom with one point for their efforts.


EP Kings 67 - Tries: SP Marais, Norman Nelson (2), Siyanda Grey, Jaco Bekker (2), Marcello Sampson (3), Falie Oelschig, Luke Watson. Conversions: George Whitehead (6).

Griffons 26 - Tries: Ricardo Petersen, Enrico Schultz, Nicky Steyn, Tertius Maarman. Conversions: Tiaan van Wyk (2), Jannie Myburgh.


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