KES produced a powerful forward display to beat Johannesburg rivals St John’s 35-6 in Houghton on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
KES have dominated this fixture in recent times, scoring over 50 points in their last two meetings.
However, St John’s put up a far better fight, going into half-time trailing by just seven points. However, three tries from three strong KES mauls at the beginning of the second half took the game away from them.
Flyhalf Neil Hoffman gave the home side an early lead, kicking two penalties. St John’s flyhalf Bismark Olivier got them on the scoreboard by slotting a 50 metre penalty after hooker James Ives won a good turnover on the halfway line.
KES then worked their way into the St John’s 22 and extended their lead when centre Joseph Iye showed great strength to brush off two tacklers and score near the posts. Olivier then kicked his second penalty to narrow the score to 13-6 at the break.
However, that was to be the final highlight for the visitors as the KES forwards took the game to St John’s in the second half, setting up a driving maul from which captain Bandile Lekhuleni scored. Hoffman slotted the conversion and added a third penalty to give KES a buffer.
St John’s struggled with their discipline in the second half, giving away silly penalties which allowed the hosts to easily work their way forward. Things got worse for the visitors when they conceded a penalty try from another KES maul and lost captain Daniel Archer to a yellow card.
To their credit, St John’s tried to get back into the game despite their disadvantage but KES made them pay as their maul again produced a try, with tall lock Joshua Nkomo going over to round off the scoring.
KES – Tries: Joseph Iye, Bandile Lekhuleni, penalty try, Joshua Nkomo. Conversions: Neil Hoffman (2). Penalties: Neil Hoffman (3).
St John’s – Penalties: Bismarck Olivier (2).