EP Kings survive close call

2012-06-29 18:35

Wellington - The Eastern Province Kings survived a close call as they beat the Regent Boland Cavaliers 25-20 (half-time 15-7) in their Absa Currie Cup First Division opener on Friday.

It needed the late intervention of fullback SP Marais and the accurate boot of replacement flyhalf Wesley Dunlop, called off the bench in the final quarter, to win the match for the EP Kings, as the Boland Cavaliers dominated the second half.

The Kings' tactic of keeping Boland pinned in their own territory worked in the first half as they did not have the kicking game to relieve the pressure.

The Cavaliers were nowhere in the first quarter and Kings flyhalf George Whitehead was initially the star of the show as he scored the first 10 points.

His opposite number, Elgar Watts, struggled to kick the ball out and the Cavaliers lineout also seldom went as intended, giving the visitors great attacking platforms. Whitehead kicked a fifth-minute penalty and then, running off first phase, threw an outrageous dummy and strolled through for a try in the 13th minute, which he converted.

Boland finally made their way into Eastern Province territory in the 19th minute and were able to win a lineout, leading to a period of concerted pressure on the Kings' line. That led to a penalty, which scrumhalf Bolla Conradie took quickly and passed to fullback Jacquin Jansen, who went through a defender on his way to scoring.

Watts converted to close the gap to 7-10, but the home side were unable to produce any other points despite their second-quarter dominance.

The Kings weathered the storm until the 33rd minute when their backs were able to produce a slick breakout, leading to an infringement at the ruck by Boland. The penalty was kicked to touch and loose forward Cornell du Preez then scored from an impressive rolling maul.

Eastern Province deserved their 15-7 half-time lead but they were given an almighty wake-up call in the second half as they produced some lacklustre rugby, with an inventive Cavaliers side only too happy to capitalise.

In the antithesis of modern rugby thinking, Boland ran the second-half kickoff from their own 22 and, with the Kings suddenly shying away from physical confrontation at the collisions, the home side were able to carry the ball through 11 phases before Jansen blazed through the close-in defence for his second try.

The try was the product of wonderful handling and support play by the Cavaliers, and their ball-in-hand approach meant they were smouldering on attack during the second half.

It was never-say-die rugby at its best and loosehead prop Ashton Constant, normally a hooker but shifted to the side of the scrum in an emergency, was a prominent feature in the tight-loose as well as scrumming manfully against experienced New Zealand giant Clint Newland.

Constant did however loose his bind to present Whitehead with a 53rd-minute penalty, but the star of the first quarter became the villain of the piece as he missed that kick and another penalty two minutes later that was practically in front of the poles.

Watts, who had succeeded with both conversions, then put Boland into the lead (17-15) for the first time in the 65th minute with a penalty kick that bounced over off the crossbar.

But with 10 minutes to go, Marais finally stepped up into the game. Boland couldn't handle his booming kick downfield, turning over possession. Marais then made a break that set up a ruck close to the tryline, and the talented fullback then dived over the ruck to score the match-winning try.

Dunlop calmly slotted the conversion to put the visitors out of penalty reach (22-17), but there were nervous times ahead for the Kings as Boland came roaring back and once again looked dangerous on attack.

But replacement back Tiger Mangweni was on hand to support strong defence and steal the ball, allowing Eastern Province to go tearing back into Boland territory.

The Cavaliers would then go offsides, allowing Dunlop to kick a penalty to stretch the lead to 25-17.

The hooter had already gone when the Kings engaged early at a scrum and Boland were able to run the free-kick into the EP 22, winning a penalty which replacement flyhalf Ricardo Croy kicked to ensure they did not go away empty-handed, gaining a losing bonus point.


Regent Boland Cavaliers - Tries: Jacquin Jansen (2). Conversion: Elgar Watts (2). Penalties: Watts, Ricardo Croy.

Eastern Province Kings - Tries: George Whitehead, Cornell du Preez, SP Marais. Conversions: Whitehead, Wesley Dunlop. Penalties: Whitehead, Dunlop.


  • luke.sportify - 2012-06-29 18:55

    Great start Kings, all the best for the rest of the season

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-06-29 20:09

      :-) still wearing your heart on your sleeve. They need to up the ante if they want people to buy into their Super Rugby aspirations. How many players from the "Super" squad played tonight?

      Patrick Cawood - 2012-06-29 23:08

      Don't deserve to be in the Currie Cup? The Kings are not in the Currie Cup...not yet Still very early days, once the sponsors commit next month the players will start the exodus to the friendly city

      Emile - 2012-06-29 23:17

      @ Patrick. Dream on........

      Patrick Cawood - 2012-06-29 23:45

      We have dreams in the EC Emile Dreams of Big Time Rugby

      Tom - 2012-06-30 00:50

      PE has been "the next big thing" for years and years and years and yet.....nothing

      Ruan - 2012-07-01 07:39

      Well done boytjies!!!!! Super Rugby next!!!! no matter what the others say!!!

  • thomas.cannon.712 - 2012-06-29 19:06

    The points difference should have been closer to fifty if not more, if the Kings were a true contender for S15 rugby!!! The fans should be saying "Hell these Kings mean business" but instead they prove our point every time!!! I know this will not be the full Kings S15 team, but short of replacing 85% of the team which defeats the object, they should be on the field already!! The fans will only accept the Kings if there was a play- off for the bottom spot and they took it!!!

      Patrick Cawood - 2012-06-29 23:59

      Pretty difficult to buy top players when they are all in contract The Kings need 10 more squad players and around 5 first choice players before they can think of competing The academy is currently producing talent but they will need depth in core positions Thanks SARU for this mess, The Kings should by now be beating the Pumas/Boland of the Currie Cup by 15-25 EC rugby will be of a high standard in a few years but these things take time Alll these plans should of been put together in 2010 not in July 2012

      shakes.tshabala - 2012-06-30 08:34

      I don't think the Kings are Super Rugby material at the moment. This will be a disaster for their rugby. They may have structures in place but do not possess quality players at the moment. They can only become a quality team should they have quality players. They may consider recruiting some of the Lions players who will definitely leave them should they be relegated. Just food for thought.

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-07-01 11:03

      Shakes, apparently most of the Lions players are still under contract for 2013, so that won't happen. If they are let out of their contracts the better players will head north to the Bulls, or south to the Sharks. Josh, Jaco, Coetzee (fullback), Elton, and the loosies are all great players who the bigger Unions will snatch up in an instant. The manner in which the Kings have been given their place may cause players to rather play for the other franchises! You will learn in time that a spot in Super Rugby doesn't automatically mean your talent stays at home, nor does it mean that talent from other areas comes looking for contracts!

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-07-01 11:10

      @Patrick how is this SARU's mess. You yourself commented how before Cheeky came in the EC administrators pilfered all the funds! That would make it an EC problem, not SARU! Thomas makes a very good point, the players should be there already. There is no sense in taking a bunch of the current Lions side and putting them in the Kings next year - how is that transformation? The Kings needs to be a local side, not a side bought from other areas. Or has Cheeky been untruthful once again?

      brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-07-01 21:49

      sean - patrick was refering to the delay by SARU in commiting to a dicision. By delay they basically stuffed up the Kings recruitment and damged the Lions with uncertainty (IOW - stuffed up 2 franchises for 2013 in stead of only1 - That why it a SARU problem). The promise of Super rugby was also made to the East Cape before Cheeky was elected at the EPRU (so not CHeekys problem) - he just making the best of a bad situation. SARU should never in the first place have made any promises. The 2013 fiasco is merely the situation from 2007 (even earlier) that has been postponed as it was ruled by the High court that SARU should uphold. The Kings stepped down in 2011 admitting that they where not yet ready, but by delaying the problem is not going to solve it. Let the Kings play the one season (they will either succeed or fail and drop out again).

      brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-07-01 21:57

      sean - also as you mentioned BEFORE CHEEKY administrators pilfered all the funds. Since he has been there the administration of the EPRU is all in order. And the union is actualy making a profit and not running at a loss and no money is being pilfered. so that EP problem has been solved. This is evident in the amount of players that have been contracted. This is due to some small sponsorships getting involved who would not previously get involved due to the bad administration at EPRU. It all small steps but since cheeky got involved it has been a massive improvement. I dont have to like him (he is a bit of a d#*s) as a person to apreciate what he has done for EPRU since his arrival.

  • Ken - 2012-06-29 19:21

    What can I say?

  • Squeegee - 2012-06-29 19:30

    Where's Welloington?

  • brandewijn.vancoke - 2012-06-29 20:14

    With some 1st choice players still out injured and with new coaches and new players still to join next week and it the first game of the season it didn't go to bad. Better than the 42-13 loss in the final last year. Let the new coaches and players find their feet. They should look a lot better in a few weeks (they better if they want to beat the Pumas and the Leopards and then the Griquas for promotion).... long road ahead. A decent start to the season (not great) - lets hope they improve... a lot

  • Chriskoi1 - 2012-06-29 21:55

    Hier kom n' groot F*&^%$up in die Super 15 volgende jaar en Cheeky Watson in kluis sien en kyk maar want hulle pas nie eers in die Currie beeker status nie

      basiladams.basil - 2012-06-30 06:59

      Fark all u anti Kings we will play in the supper15 julle duchbags is net naar

  • Emile - 2012-06-29 23:16

    Can't even dominate Boland in the bottom of the second division, but will play Super Rugby next year - CRAZY!!!!!!

      Patrick Cawood - 2012-06-29 23:43

      Bottom of the Currie Cup Boland and The Kings played in last years final....

  • WernerZA - 2012-06-30 04:38

    The crusaders and brumbies are shaking in their boots! Cheeky, you are going to disgrace SA rugby!

      christo.jacobs.56 - 2012-06-30 05:36

      Cheeky dont have to disgrace SA rugby as the Lions have been doing it for years. Lets face it the problem is not EP but Cheeky Watson, as he is, was and will never be a favorite of the SA rugby public cause he dared to turn his back on the old SARFU. The question of , will Ep make it or not is irrelevant as in the first place we do not have enough quality rugby players to field 4 strong teams in the S15 and if you differs, just go have a look at the results of all the years. So back to the big issue, will they make it? Who knows, maybe a lot of the Eastern Province born guys wanna move back home, but then again the rest of the country might end up with no players as every union do have a lot in their teams. At the moment EP cannot compete with the rest cause they do not have enough quality contracted players and it will change once they are playing in the S15. The Lions with all their money, do not know how to do it and its tough luck for them. So people, be open and come out with the real reason why you are against the EP Kings inclusion to the Super competition. The one and only reason , political issues, and thats not from the governments side but from your own as SA rugby supporters are by far the most racist bunch of people and still believes rugby is a white-mans game.

      Tom - 2012-06-30 09:12

      actually - if the lions made way for the kings and the franchise actually attracted homecomers and they won more than 3 games in S15 they will have done better than the lions, i would be inclined to support them as opposed to not even turning on the tv for the lions games. not like anyone actually watches the lions games at the stadium. i reckon that soccer stadium in the gattie part of town in pe would be packed every week. do it

      WernerZA - 2012-06-30 15:52

      @ christo... I agree. To be honest I hope we as a rugby public can get over the race issue. OK, if EP do manage 3 or more wins, I think it would do us a world of good. In fact, I'd love for that to happen since I think there is lots of talent in EP... I just don't like the likes of cheeky ( and his son) when it comes to national pride an national interest... Seems like theyll do anything to prove a point... Good or bad

  • - 2012-06-30 07:49

    Cheeky Watson play with coloured and blacks that's why whites still hate him,how patetic.

  • anneck.cranke - 2012-06-30 12:50

    Oh boy, I am so excited! I know they can do big things against the Crusaders, and the Brumbies, and the Hurricanes, and the Chiefs, and the... Oh wait, that's Super 15! Lol!

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