So shoot me for semantics – a draw is not a loss!
The Kings had dominated the first 50 minutes of their match against the Pumas in Mbombela in impressive fashion on Friday 3 August, making a compelling argument that they are a team on the rise, as they built to a formidable 27-9 lead by the 50th minute.
Pumas Fullback JC Roos kept his cool under immense pressure as he kicked a touchline conversion in the 81st minute after a last gap try by Tian Marx to salvage a draw for the Ford Pumas in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match against the EP Kings. The Kings suffered a dramatic fade-out in the last half-hour that saw the Pumas cross the EP Kings tryline for three successful tries and conversions to which the EP Kings only managed to reply with one successful penalty in the 71st minute.
One of the two missed penalties by George Whitehead in the 12th and 54th minutes of the game could have been the deciding factor in the Kings 2nd away game on the trot.
The Pumas, playing in front of their home crowd – which looked sparse in the massive Mbombela Stadium – produced a rousing, passionate comeback and it was the boot of Roos that ensured they came away with a share of the spoils.
Roos kicked with authority throughout, succeeding with all six of his shots at goal, including the conversion from the touchline after the final hooter that secured the draw.
As the only unbeaten team in the division the EP Kings have extended their lead at the top of the standings and are now on 26 points.
- Pumas – Tries: Tiaan Marx, Renaldo Bothma, JW Jonker. Conversions: JC Roos (3). Penalties: Roos (3).
- Kings – Tries: Marcello Sampson, Hannes Franklin, David Bulbring. Conversions: George Whitehead (3). Penalties: Whitehead (3).
In other games over the weekend the defending Absa Currie Cup First Division champions the Regent Boland Kavaliers picked up their first win of the season in spectacular style, whilst the SWD Eagles picked up their third win with a 20-13 victory in George over early pacesetter the Griffons.
In Saturday’s matches, the Kavaliers, who went into the match with four losses and a draw, rediscovered their form at their alternate home ground of Boland Park in Worcester with a 12-try, 79-26 hammering of the Valke, while the Leopards were equally merciless in the familiar surroundings of Profert Olen Park when they outgunned the Border Bulldogs 53-28 – a result which moves the men from Potch to second on the table as the halfway stage approaches.
SWD Eagles (17) 20 Griffons (0) 13
The SWD Eagles held off a strong second-half fightback by the Griffons to seal a tight victory in their Absa Currie Cup First Division clash at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday.
The hosts scored all their opening-period points inside 18 minutes thanks to tries from Alshaun Bock and Grant Kemp.
A one-sided encounter was well on the cards at that stage, but the match took a dramatic twist after the restart when the Eagles were reduced to 13 men – paving the way for a strong comeback via scores from Hansie Graaff and Nicky Steyn.
However, the Griffons fell just short and in the process missed the chance to make up ground on the log-leading Eastern Province Kings.
The Eagles on the other hand stayed in fifth place, but their performance was far from convincing in front of their home fans.
They made a flying start to the match and were ahead just four minutes in when winger Bock crossed for the opening try, which was converted by Elric van Vuuren.
Fullback Van Vuuren added a penalty moments later, before the lead was stretched to 17-0 shortly before the first quarter mark when prop Kemp bulldozed his way over for another converted score.
But the Eagles then seemed to go to sleep, with the visitors coming out firing after the restart, and it needed a late penalty from home fullback Elric van Vuuren to make sure of the win.
- Eagles – Tries: Grant Kemp, Alshaun Bock. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (2). Penalties: Van Vuuren (2).
- Griffons – Tries: Nicky Steyn, Hansie Graaff. Penalty: Tiaan van Wyk.
Regent Boland Kavaliers (34) 79 Valke (19) 26
The Regent Boland Kavaliers played some thrilling rugby as they thrashed the Valke in front of 5,000 passionate fans in Worcester.
With Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer in attendance for the team’s squad announcement after the game, the Kavaliers used their backline to great effect, strolling through for 12 tries. It has to be admitted, however, that they were up against an exceptionally naive Valke defence.
Boland also used the rolling maul superbly to score four of their tries, two of them going to captain and flank Franzel September.
- Kavaliers – Tries: Zandre Jordaan, PJ van Zyl, Neil Papier (2), Mziwamadoda Yako, Franzel September (2), Elgar Watts, Cornal Hendricks (2), Brendon April (2). Conversions: Watts (5), Ricardo Croy (3). Penalty: Watts.
- Valke – Tries: Nico Pretorius, JC Greyling, Jaco Oosthuizen (2). Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (2), Juan Kotze.
Leopards (28) 53 Border Bulldogs (7) 28
Flanker Phillip de Wet ran in four tries to help the Leopards ease to a comfortable victory over the Border Bulldogs in their Absa Currie Cup First Division clash at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The home side ran in seven tries in total with Joubert Engelbrecht, Danie Dames and Gerhard Nortier also crossing.
Flyhalf Andre Pretorius kicked 18 points in total, while the visitors managed to reply with four tries of their own, including one from their number 10, Jannie Myburgh, as part of a 13-point haul.
It all means that the Leopards are back in second position on the log after slipping down the table over the preceding 24 hours due to some of their rivals having played earlier.
However, they are now just six points behind the log-leading Eastern Province Kings, who stumbled to a draw against the Ford Pumas this weekend, ahead of the two clashing in Port Elizabeth this coming week.
But the Leopards will be buoyed ahead of that clash following a result that never looked in doubt once they found their rhythm and stride towards the end of the first quarter.
- Leopards – Tries: Philip de Wet (4), Joubert Engelbrecht, Gerhard Nortier, Danie Dames. Conversions: Andre Pretorius (6). Penalties: Pretorius (2).
- Bulldogs – Tries: Ruan Jacobs, Lesley-Dean Luiter, Jannie Myburgh, Gareth Krause. Conversions: Jannie Myburgh (4).
Absa Currie Cup First Division Log Points – After Round 6:
- EP Kings: 26
- Leopards: 20
- Griffons: 20
- Pumas: 18
- SWD: 16
- Boland: 10
- Valke: 9
- Border: 6