Johannebsurg - The EP Kings had to fight hard to secure a 30-22 (half-time 22-10) Vodacom Cup win over near rivals the Border Bulldogs in Mthatha on Saturday.
EP scored four tries to earn five points from the match and move to seven points on the overall standings of the southern section of the log.
Border were unable to secure a bonus point although they did manage three tries – two from wing Johannes Seerane – but remain without a point after losing 72-6 to the Sharks XV in week one.
EP raced into a 22-3 lead after 30 minutes and looked to be on their way to another comfortable victory but the Bulldogs never gave up in this derby encounter.
The visitors led 22-10 at the break after three first half tries through No 8 Paul Schoeman, hooker Virgil Lacombe and flank Devon Oosthuizen, which underlined their dominance.
The EP pack laid a solid platform and from that base they were able to dictate terms to their Eastern Cape rivals often using the pack to drive the Bulldogs back.
The home team had their moments but they were out-gunned and under-powered, and despite some spirited early resistance, it was always going to be a tough encounter for the Bulldogs.
Their endeavour was rewarded with a try from right wing Johannes Seerane in the 35th minute, who finished the Bulldogs’ best move of the match, but that was just about the only highlight in the opening period.
Seeerane scored second try in the 44th minute to narrow the deficit to only five points after flyhalf Karlo Aspeling added his second conversion.
But EP secured their bonus point and took the game away from the Bulldogs when fullback Siviwe Soyizwapi crashed over in the 55th minute.
Left wing Scott van Breda landed a 75th minute penalty before scrumhalf Sinovuyo Nyoka scored a late consolation try for the Bulldogs.