Kings down Griquas in PE
The Eastern Province Kings scored four tries to beat Griquas 26-16 (halftime 7-16) in a hard-fought Vodacom Cup match played in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Things started as badly as they could have for EP but the home side clicked into gear to chalk up an excellent, come-from-behind win against their Premier Division rivals.
The incident in question came straight from the kickoff, when EP lock Ross Kennedy threw a punch and was promptly yellow-carded.
But the home side rallied brilliantly, with captain and centre Wayne Stevens scoring an excellent try in the third minute to settle his troops down.
Flyhalf Jaco van Schalkwyk, who didn’t enjoy his best day at the office, kicked the conversion to open up a 7-0 lead.
But from then on it was all Griquas, especially in the forwards where the visitors manhandled the EP pack at every opportunity.
The Kings were also beaten to the breakdown with regularity, which means they leaked penalties by the bucketload. In fact, the hosts conceded nine in the first half alone, which meant that Griquas, sooner or later, would profit.
Griquas fullback Rudi Vogt did exactly that, and two penalties in the opening 10 minutes made it 7-6 to EP.
Right winger Johan Herbst then added to EP’s misery when he scored two tries, in the 23rd and 37th minutes, to give the visitors a nine-point lead at the break.
Herbst’s first try came after a period of sustained attack by the Griquas forwards, and the number 14 was on hand to dive over in the corner to confirm their dominance.
The winger’s second try came from an excellent piece of follow-up play that saw him pick up a loose pass and scoot over.
It’s perhaps not rocket science what EP coach Alan Solomons had to say to his troops at halftime, but it’s doubtful Griquas would have expected the kind of backlash that greeted them after the break.
Their newfound spirit was epitomised by new eighthman and man of the match Jacques Engelbrecht, who barged over for the first of his two tries in the 51st minute.
Fullback SP Marais converted to make it a two-point game, but Engelbrecht then scored his second before the hour was up for a 21-16 lead.
Prop Jaco Engels, who had a storming game and who carried the ball with gusto all afternoon, then sealed the result when he crashed over with seven minutes remaining to seal the contest.
EP Kings 26 – Tries:
Wayne Stevens, Jacques Engelbrecht (2), Jaco Engels. Conversions: Jaco van Schalkwyk, SP Marais (2).
Griquas 16 – Tries:
Johan Herbst (2). Penalties: Rudi Vogt (2).