Port Elizabeth - EP Kings loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka believes the men from Port Elizabeth are earning respect with their performances in the Currie Cup this season.
The EP Kings picked up their first victory of the 2015 Currie Cup campaign when they beat the Free State Cheetahs 34-24 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last Friday night.
What made the result even more significant was the fact that the home side played the final 34 minutes of the match with 14 men as centre JP du Plessis received a red card for foul play. At that stage, the EP Kings were 19-16 behind on the scoreboard.
Gqoboka said the win was deserved reward for all the hard work the squad has put in this year.
“Even though we weren’t getting the desired results during the opening rounds, we were happy with our growth and improvements each week. We knew our first victory wasn’t far away,” Gqoboka told MyPlayers.co.za.
“The red card was a blow as it gave the Cheetahs the advantage of an extra man, but the players came together and we told ourselves we still had enough to win the game. We just needed to stick to our game plan and finish on a strong note.
“And that’s what we did. It took a big team effort and the players managed to motivate each other when it mattered most. It’s a game that has given us a lot of confidence.”
Gqoboka believes the EP Kings have earned the respect of opposition teams in the Currie Cup.
“We lost our first five games, but they were lost by close margins. Teams have realised that there are no easy games against the Kings, especially in Port Elizabeth, which is our home. We always try to make our fans proud,” he said.
The EP Kings will look to earn back-to-back wins when they face the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday. Gqoboka said the players will be working hard this week to achieve this feat.
“We will take each game as it comes. The Pumas will be a tough challenge in Nelspruit,” said Gqoboka. “We just need to ensure we build on the momentum set last weekend. We have shown major improvements in our overall game, especially at the scrums and lineouts.
“We also realise that discipline is very important. We can’t afford to make unforced errors at this level... or we will be punished.”
15 Hoffmann Maritz, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Francois de Klerk (captain), 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Frank Herne , 1 Corné Fourie.
Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Marné Coetzee, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Uzair Cassiem, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Hennie Skorbinski, 22 Marcello Sampson
Eastern Province Kings:
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead (captain), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Cornel Hess, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Elgar Watts
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