The EP Kings continued their excellent form in the Absa U19 Provincial Championship on Saturday when they outplayed the Cell C Sharks 34-24 in Durban, claiming their sixth consecutive win and beating all the other teams in the first half of the competition.
They top the log which sees the Toyota Free State and Cell C Sharks teams propping up the rest of the teams. The Leopards, currently in fifth, shocked the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half to win 32-17. DHL Western Province missed a late conversion to get past Toyota Free State, who scored five tries to four in a thrilling 29-29 draw at DHL Newlands.
The Kings now go into a well-earned break before beginning the second round of the competition when they play the return match against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on August 29.
The point-scorers were:
- Cell C Sharks 24 (14). Tries: Cameron McNab (2), Morne Joubert, Tristan Blewett. Tristan Tedder (2).
- EP Kings 34 (15). Tries: Athi Mayinje, Hayden Tharratt, Lusanda Badiyana, Yamkela Nyalambisa, Penalty Try. Conversions: Michael Brink (2), Jordan Koekemoer. Penalty: Jordan Koekemoer.
In the U21 competition, the Kings gave an improved performance in scoring three tries against the Sharks, but eventually went down 32-20 after trailing 26-8 at half time.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls (41-23 over Leopards) and DHL Western Province (22-0 over Toyota Free State) both scored good home wins in round six of the Provincial Championship, but are still playing catch-up to the Xerox Golden Lions, who had a buy this weekend.
The Johannesburg side has started the season in strong fashion and still lead the log, but four other teams are all in the race to finish in the top four.
The EP Kings, winless after six matches, cannot reach the top four any more, while the Leopards, with one win from five, will have to improve dramatically to stay in the run. WP, Blue Bulls, Sharks and Free State look set to compete for the final four spots.
The point-scorers were:
- Cell C Sharks 32 (26). Tries: Graham Geldenhuys, Innocent Radebe (2), Sipho Mkize. Conversions: Innocent Radebe (3). Penalties: Innocent Radebe (2).
- EP Kings 20 (8). Tries: Anelisa Mteto, Khaya Malotana, Warren Swarts. Conversions: Matthys Venter. Penalty: Matthys Venter.