The EP Kings can be happy to walk away with a win in Bloemfontein, but more work needs to be done. My quick summation of the game – excellent first 30 minutes with good defense, great possession and territory, good ball from the rucks and mauls and high expectation of a runaway win. Followed by scrappy, non focused play that gave too much away.
The Eastern province Kings walked away with a narrow win against the Free State XV team in Bloemfontein on 6 April 2013 finishing the game 17 points to 13 ahead of the men from the Free State.
The EP Kings put in a sterling first half performance, and were leading the game 8 points to 5 at half time.
A great attacking display from the EP Kings led to an early opportunity to put points on the board from a penalty, but Scott van Breda’s kick went wide of posts. The sigh of relief from the Free State side was short lived however, with Van Breda getting another opportunity just two minutes later, with his second attempt on the mark and adding the first 3 points to the board.
Captain Wayne Stevens followed in the 23rd minute, driving over the white wash to add another five points to the board, with the conversion missed by Van Breda.
The Free State XV’s Ludwig Erasmus replied in the 34th minute with a try of his own, putting the first 5 points on the board for the home team. The try went unconverted off the boot of Tewis de Bruyn.
In the second half the EP Kings let the Free State XV back into the game, with an unconverted try to Tebogo Mohoje in the 45th minute giving the Free State XV the lead for the first time in the match with 10 points.
Three minutes later Van Breda kicked over another penalty, briefly giving the EP Kings the lead at 11 to 10, but it was just as quickly snatched away by De Bruyn with a penalty kick of his own in the 50th minute, taking the Free State XV to 13 points.
The EP Kings were then forced to play defensive rugby and did a good job of keeping the Free State XV team from crossing the try line, before another penalty kick by Van Breda in the 66th minute regained the lead.
The Free State XV again pushed for the try line, with their no 13, Barry Geel, driving over the white wash but the ball was held up.
Van Breda took one more penalty kick in the 76th minute to seal the victory for the EP Kings, with the game ending 17 points to 13 on the final whistle.
Vodacom Cup Head Coach, David Maidza, said he was happy to take the win, but there was still a lot of work to be done.
“We started really well and played some decent rugby, but we let them go in the second half a bit,” he said.
“We need to look at some of the basics and hold onto the ball more,” he said.
Maidza said the team had however shown character and determination on the field, and that he was chuffed for the boys as it was never easy to take a victory away.
Maidza said he had been impressed by the determination and physicality shown by the three players called up from the Madibaz team, Mzwanele Zito, Tim Agaba and Schalk Oelofse.
“They really acquitted themselves well on the field and can hold their heads up high,” he said.
Maidza said there were concerns though that Zito had possibly broken his arm after he came off the field in the 56th minute.
“He has been taken to the hospital for x-rays,” he said.
“The boys can hold their heads high,” he said.
Scorers – Toyota Free State XV 13 (5) EP Kings 17 (8):
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Ludwig Erasmus, Teboho Mohoje. Penalty goal: Tewis de Bruyn.
EP Kings – Try: Wayne Stevens. Penalty goals: Scott van Breda (4).
The EP Kings are currently 4th in the South section with 11 points.