EP Kings lose to Premier XV
Port Elizabeth - In their first game-appearance in 6 weeks, the Kings lost 27-17 against the Contipartners Premier XV, an invitational side made up of overseas South African, Sevens and Super Rugby players.
The Kings, who used the match as a build up to the Nations Cup, named a roster of 26 players and were able to use all of them as planned. The Kings dominated possession and territory but struggled with ball security, which the Premier XV were able to capitalize on.
‘The game served its purpose,’ said head coach Alan Solomons. ‘It provided valuable match practice for the Nations Cup and all 26 players played as planned. It was important that everyone got time on the field even if it cost us some rhythm.’
‘There were a lot of positives,’ said captain Mzwandile Stick. ‘We maintained control for most of the game but made silly mistakes. You just can’t make mistakes like that against guys like Cecil Afrika and Gcobani Bobo. We are in a building process toward the Nations Cup and ultimately the Currie Cup. We know that nobody will ever give anything up to us and that we must go in and take it.’
Contipartners Premier XV coach Brendan Venter gave all credit for the win to his players, ‘An invitational game like this is based on a simple principle – coaching is not important. We were able to be competitive because of talented players who showed a lot of fight. The Kings were well organized and showed moments of brilliance; they were all over us in the first half but we had lucky tries. I don’t think they will have any problems at the Nations Cup.’
Gcobani Bobo, who hails from the region and scored the Premier XV’s first try commented on playing at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, ‘Guys travelled long and far to play in this game because they wanted to play at this stadium. It is a beautiful stadium and the facilities are amazing. We saw it in the World Cup and it is great to play here in person.’
The King’s lone try was scored by prop Clint Newland with SP Marais kicking four penalties. Premier XV tries were scored by Bobo, Sam Gerber and Sevens sensation Cecil Afrika who scored on a dazzling 75 meter run.
The Kings depart for Bucharest, Romania for the Nations Cup on Monday.