Reality check for Kings

Western Province eased past the EP Kings 35-16 in Port Elizabeth thanks to a strong second-half performance, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

The Kings showed themselves to be competitive at stages during the match, but ultimately they weren't able to maintain their challenge for the full 80 minutes.

Province thought they had opened the scoring in the second minute, but Juan de Jongh's effort was ruled out after a forward pass from Demetri Catrakilis. They would get their try five minutes later as Pat Howard, on for the injured Kobus van Wyk, coasted through a gaping hole in the Kings defence to open the scoring.

A Scott van Breda penalty helped to settle the nerves as the Kings slowly worked their way into the game. They were helped by the ill-discipline of Province as first Manuel Carizza, and then Pat Cilliers, saw yellow for cynical infringements.

The Kings would hit the front when captain Luke Watson went over from a driving maul. Leading 11-10 at the break, Kings coach Carlos Spencer would've been happy with his team's first-half performance.

All that work would be undone in the second half as Western Province hit their straps and the Kings could not maintain the onslaught. First Nizaam Carr crashed over from close range before Michael van der Spuy cantered across the line to hand Province a comfortable cushion.

A try from replacement scrumhalf Kevin Luiters, after Seabelo Senatla became the third Province player to be sent to the bin, gave the Kings some hope with 10 minutes to go. It would be Province, though, who would wrap things up as Cheslin Kolbe pounced on a turnover to go over after the hooter for a bonus-point try.

EP Kings – Tries: Luke Watson, Kevin Luiters. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).
Western Province – Tries: Pat Howard, Nizaam Carr, Michael van der Spuy, Cheslin Kolbe. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3). Penalties: Catrakilis (3).

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 Luke Watson (c), 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Cummins, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Albe de Swardt, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Darron Nell, 19 Aidon Davis, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.

Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Eben Etzebeth, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Pat Howard.

Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images