Kings see off Namibia
The Eastern Province Kings didn’t play particularly well but still scored seven tries in a 47-12 (halftime 26-5) demolition of Namibia in their opening Vodacom Cup match played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday night.
The reigning Currie Cup First Division champions scored four tries in the first half and another three after the break in a one-sided encounter which will nevertheless leave head coach Alan Solomons with much work to do in the coming weeks.
Let’s give credit where it is due: the Kings played well in patches and nobody can bemoan seven tries in the opening match of the season. But the home side’s second-half performance in particular was scrappy and they really should have put at least 60 points on the board against the outclassed Namibians.
Flanker Darron Nell deservedly took home the man of the match award for a physical display that saw him score a try and have a hand in a few others.
The Kings’ other tries went to livewire winger Milo Nqoro, who notched a brace, centre Siyanda Grey, who scored the best touchdown of the night, veteran lock Barend Pieterse, eighthman Morné Hanekom and replacement flyhalf Monty Dumond.
For the visitors, wing Heini Bock and hardworking eighthman PJ van Lill managed to cross the whitewash while classy fullback Chrysander Botha kicked a conversion.
On the basis of this performance, Namibia, who will play in the World Cup later this year, will have to improve in leaps and bounds if they are to be competitive in New Zealand.
While Nell walked off with the individual honours, it was Grey’s try in the 25th minute that had the crowd on their feet. The midfielder had a good run before linking well with wing Norman Nelson. The former Springbok Sevens player then put Grey away when he could have tried to score himself.
EP Kings 47 – Tries: Milo Nqoro (2), Siyanda Grey, Darron Nell, Barend Pieterse, Morné Hanekom, Monty Dumond. Conversions: Mathew Tayler-Smith (2), Dumond (4).
Namibia 12 – Tries: Heini Bock, PJ van Lill. Conversion: Chrysander Botha.