EP Kings register hard-earned win
The Eastern Province Kings scored a 40-23 win (halftime 20-15) over the Border Bulldogs despite playing most of the second half with only 14 men in their Vodacom Cup rugby match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The victory was EP's second of the campaign in two weeks but was hard-earned after they lost flyhalf Shane Gates for a spear-tackle transgression seven minutes after the break
The expectation was that Eastern Province would be too good for their neighbours but Border's defence held firm for the first 30 minutes.
In fact, Border led 9-6 at the 30-minute mark thanks to two penalty kicks from flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa and one from right wing Logan Basson. That was after the homeside was up 6-0 through 12 minutes following two penalties by their scrumhalf Falie Oelschig.
The Border defence evetually caved after continuous pressure from Eastern Province as hooker Hannes Franklin collected a loose ball to score untouched. Oelschig kicked the conversion to restore EP's lead at 13-9.
Dukisa narrowed the gap to 13-12 with another long-range penalty.
EP's second try was a well-worked effort from a lineout on the halfway line. Andile Witbooi came off his position at right wing to collect the ball and scythed his way through to Border's 22m before offloading to centre Scott van Breda, who completed the try. Oelschig converted before Dukisa landed another penalty on the stroke of halftime.
EP were dealt their hammer blow when Gates was red-carded for a disputed spear tackle on Dukisa. The Border flyhalf got up, dusted himself off and slotted the resultant penalty.
However, the Kings assumed control despite their deficit in numbers and Gates' replacement Justin van Staden kicked two penalties to see EP into a 26-18 lead.
That was increased when replacement scrumhalf Danie Fassen darted over for his team's third try which Van Staden converted.
Border did get a try back through Clinton Koen but EP fullback sealed the victory and the bonus point when he dotted down for the fourth try.
EASTERN PROVINCE KINGS – Tries: Hannes Franklin, Scott van Breda, Danie Fassen, Kieran Goss; Conversions: Falie Oelschig (2), Justin van Staden (2); Penalties: Falie Oelschig (2), Justin van Staden (2).
BORDER BULLDOGS – Tries: Clinton Koen; Penalties: Ntabeni Dukisa (5), Logan Basson.