EP Kings beat Pumas for first Currie Cup win

The Eastern Province Kings ended their wait for their first Currie Cup victory on Friday when they edged the Pumas 26-25 in a thrilling contest at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The last-gasp victory in their final match of the season saw the Kings end a run of nine straight losses in the top flight.

There was a rousing end to the match when Kings’ fullback Scott van Breda score a try in the corner seven minutes before the end after play had swung from end to end in dramatic fashion.

Cool-headed flyhalf Gary van Aswegen then slotted a difficult conversion with only minutes left on the clock to put the Kings ahead and seal the maiden win.

There were joyous scenes at the end as the Kings celebrated a win that sent the crowd of 4 584 home jovial for the first time this season.

During the match it was the Kings who had the chance to draw first blood, but Van Breda failed with a long range penalty from just inside his own half after four minutes.

The Pumas were down to 14 men when lock Lubabalo Mtyanda was shown a yellow card by referee Marius Jonker for a professional foul.

The Kings made their numerical advantage count when scrumhalf Tobie Botes dived over after sniping run to put his team 5-0 ahead after 12 minutes.

Three minutes later the Pumas opened their account when flyhalf Justin van Staden slotted a penalty through the posts.

In the 20th minute the Kings were over for their second try after they showed quick hands to move the ball to wing Ronnie Cooke who powered his way over the Pumas tryline to take the home side ahead 10-3.

By the time Mtyanda returned to the field after his time in the sin-bin the Kings had taken full advantage by scoring two tries.

The Pumas lost their second player to a yellow card after 26 minutes when Rosco Specman was yellow carded for a high tackle on Van Breda.

Smelling blood the Kings used a driving maul to power their way over for another try with flank Paul Schoeman dotting down.

Van Aswegen converted the try to hand the Kings a healthy 19-3 lead.

It was at this point that the Pumas enjoyed their best spell and after sustained pressure hooker Frank Herne crashed over for the visitors’ first try to reduce the Kings’ lead to 19-8.

Then, on the stroke of halftime, Pumas flyhalf Justin van Staden powered past the Kings defence to leave the home team with slender 19-17 lead at the break.

The Pumas took the lead for the first time in the match after 44 minutes when centre Stefan Watermeyer dived over to give his team a 22-19 advantage.

Both teams then struggled to gain the ascendancy and the next score came after 64 minutes when Van Staden slotted a penalty to put the Pumas ahead 25-19 in what was proving to be a tight contest.

However, the Kings replied with a late surge for the victory that brought joy to head coach Carlos Spencer and team’s long-suffering fans.

Final Score EP Kings 26 Pumas 25

Scorers

EP Kings
Tries: Botes, Cooke, Schoeman, Van Breda
Cons: Van Aswegen 3

Pumas
Tries: Herne, Staden, Watermeyer
Cons: Staden 2
Pen: Staden
Yellow Cards: Mtyanda, Speckman

Teams

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 BG Uys, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Simon Kerrod.

Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Charl du Plessis, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Steven Cummins, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Jaco Grobler, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.

Pumas

15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 JW

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