Griquas scored 33 second-half points as they recorded a 47-24 bonus-point victory over the EP Kings in Kimberley on Wednesday evening. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Initially scheduled to take place in round one of the competition, this fixture was postponed in order to allow the Kings some further time to put their Currie Cup squad together.
However, with the rescheduled clash taking place in the middle of the week and just four days after the Kings’ loss to Western Province last weekend, the Eastern Cape outfit fielded an almost completely new-look side.
And while the Kings did well to remain competitive in the first half, they were blown away in a second half where Griquas were completely dominant, and ultimately cruised to their third win of the season.
Griquas applied plenty of pressure early on, and although errors from both sides blighted proceedings in the early exchanges, it would be the hosts who took a deserved lead when lock Wandile Putuma barged over in the 17th minute after some good buildup play.
Although it seemed as if the encounter might follow the expected script from there, the Kings impressively hit back with a well-worked try to winger Alcino Izaacs just after the quarter-hour mark.
Griquas did restore their seven-point advantage when lock Jono van Rensburg dotted down soon after, but errors and ill-discipline continued to provide the visitors with opportunities to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Lungelo Goza first struck a well-taken penalty before a superb bit of handling enabled Izaacs to dart over for his second try just before the break to suddenly send the Kings into a 17-14 lead.
The Kings had been forced to make a host of tackles in the first half, though, and they saw their tenuous lead slip away early in the second stanza when Griquas backs Ederies Arendse, Alshaun Bock and AJ Coertzen went over to score soon after the restart.
In the blink of that three-try blitz, Griquas powered to a 35-14 lead, while Coertzen piled on the punishment when he secured his brace with a 68th-minute try as the Kings' resolve completely faded away.
During the final 10 minutes, Eric Zana went over for Griquas' seventh try, while replacement Cullen Callopy scored a late consolation try for the Kings.
Griquas – Tries: Wandile Putuma, Jono van Rensburg, Ederies Arendse, Alshaun Bock, AJ Coertzen (2), Eric Zana. Conversions: Clinton Swart (6).
EP Kings – Tries: Alcino Izaacs (2), Cullen Callopy. Conversions: Lungelo Goza (2), Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalty: Goza.
Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jono van Rensburg, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Stephan Kotzé, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Subs: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Steven Meiring, 19 Thabo Mabuza, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swarts, 22 Eric Zana.
EP Kings – 15 Ganfried May, 14 Minenhle Mthethwa, 13 JC Greyling, 12 Siphumelele Msutwana, 11 Alcino Izaacs, 10 Lungelo Goza, 9 Jacques Fick, 8 Dirk Grobbelaar, 7 Brandon Brown, 6 Luke van der Smit, 5 Dylan Pieterse, 4 Hannes Huishamen, 3 Pieter Stemmet, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout (c), 1 Barend Potgieter.
Subs: 16 Warrick Venter, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Cullen Callopy, 20 Vian van der Walt, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Siviwe Soyizwapi.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images