The Eastern Province Kings beat the Border Bulldogs 27-17 in a scrappy Vodacom Cup match played at a wet Buffalo City Stadium on Friday.
Border skipper Blake Kyd celebrated his 50th match for the Bulldogs
The Border played in new colours, red and yellow, instead of their usual chocolate brown, highlighting Border’s fight against drug-taking in the region.
An infringement by Border in the first scrum in the second minute of the game led to a penalty which was successfully taken by EP flyhalf Gary van Aswegen from 30 metres out, putting the home team under immediate pressure.
Five minutes later Border fullback Masixole Banda attempted a long penalty after the EP front row collapsed in a set scrum, but the kick was hooked badly.
Disaster then struck the Bulldogs when lock Wandile Putuman was sent to the sin-bin after a dangerous tackle on EP lock Cameron Lindsay in a lineout, and after the resultant lineout taken instead of a penalty, EP flank Paul Schoeman fell over the line after a strong drive by the visitors – an easy try for the Kings in the end. Van Aswegen missed a difficult conversion.
When Putuman returned the Bulldogs were desperately defending their tryline and tough prop Simon Kerrod, despite being tackled by two Border players, forced his way over the line for the Kings’ second try close to the left touchline. Van Aswegen succeeded with a magnificent conversion.
Then Border stormed through for a strong maul only metres from the EP tryline, and after being awarded a penalty, preferred to take a lineout, looking for a seven-pointer. But the EP defence held but another penalty resulted right in front of the poles. This time Banda took the kick which succeeded to get Border on the scoreboard at 15-3, the halftime score.
Border finished the first half strongly and determinedly, attacking the Kings’ line but with no luck. In the second half they had a strong wind behind their back and EP fullback Scott van Breda, who had an excellent game, was kept busy in defence, coming into the line whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Schoeman, playing the game of his life, scored his second try after yet another solid driving maul of about 25 metres by EP but Van Aswegen missed the conversion.
During an assault by Border only metres from the EP line, Kyd, with a leg injury left the field, while Van Aswegen had to be stretchered off the field after being hurt in a hard tackle. The game was held up for some five minutes while he received attention and George Whitehead replaced him.
Immediately afterwards Border scrumhalf Ntando Kebe peeled away from the scrum at tremendous pace and dotted down in the left-hand corner for a magnificent try. Banda converted with an excellent kick.
With the crowd cheering them on but with time running out, Border kept up the pressure but some weak defence saw Schoeman race through for his third try of the match alongside the posts. Van Breda converted.
But then suddenly, amid great excitement and with seven minutes left for play, replacement back Siphenkhosi Nofemele intercepted a pass and raced 70 metres, swallow-diving over spectacularly for Banda to convert and make the score 27-17 in EP’s favour.
- Border Bulldogs: Try: Scrumhalf Ntando Kebe, utility back Siphenkhosi Nofemele. Penalty: Masixole Banda. Conversions: Banda (2).
- Eastern Province Kings: Tries: Flank Paul Schoeman (3), tighthead prop Simon Kerrod. Penalties: Flyhalf Gary van Aswegen (1). Conversions: Van Aswegen (1), fullback Scott van Breda (1).
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