Port Elizabeth - The EP Kings continued their unbeaten run as they downed the Valke 40-10 (half-time 21-3) in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The win was the Kings’ ninth on the trot and they strengthened their position atop the log-standings as they moved to 42 points, six points ahead of the second-placed Boland Cavaliers who have a game in hand on the Kings.
The Kings ran in six tries to one to emphasise their dominance in the match with right wing Marcello Sampson grabbing himself a brace of tries while the Valke, who have won just two matches this season battled gamely despite being outgunned in the set phases and the loose exchanges.
The home-side were quickly into their work after the kick-off and they were soon camped in the Valke’s half. However, a string of penalties against them at the breakdown frustrated the hosts.
But they eventually troubled the scorers in the 11th minute when eighthman and captain Luke Watson broke off the back of a maul five metres from the Valke’s tryline to burrow his way over for a converted try.
The Valke responded with a long-range penalty from flyhalf Juan Kotze, in the 17th minute, but the Kings, who had turned down a succession of kickable penalties, re-established their authority when lock Ross Kennedy dived over for a try with left wing Joe Breytenbach featuring prominently in the build-up to the converted score.
The Valke fought their way back into the contest and spent some time in their opponent’s half but the visitors undid much of their good work when captain and loosehead prop Zane Killian earned himself a yellow-card for a professional foul in the 30th minute when he knocked the ball out of Kings’ scrumhalf Jacques Coetzee’s hands at a ruck.
The Kings were quick to take advantage of their numerical advantage and, six minutes before the break, Coetzee nabbed himself a try when the quick-thinking halfback took tap-penalty five metres from the Valke’s tryline to dive over.
Flyhalf Louis Strydom had no problem with the conversion attempt as the home-side went to the break holding a handy 21-3 lead.
Four minutes after the restart the Kings nailed down the bonus-point for scoring four tries when Sampson was the recipient of a sweeping backline move from the hosts with the wing dotting down in the right-hand corner.
The Valke battled gamely throughout the contest and they finally earned some reward for their industry when replacement forward Johan de Bruin barged his way over from close-range for a converted try in the 47th minute.
But the Kings were not to be denied and seven minutes later Sampson grabbed his second try after taking the scoring pass from outside centre Matthew Tayler-Smith before replacement hooker Bobby Dyer scored with five minutes to play after some slick handling allowed Dyer to slide over in the left-hand corner.
EP Kings - Tries: Marcello Sampson (2), Luke Watson, Ross Kennedy, Jacques Coetzee, Bobby Dyer. Conversions: Louis Strydom (4), George Whitehead.
Valke – Try: Johan de Bruin. Conversion: Juan Kotze. Penalty: Kotze.