EP Kings edge SWD Eagles, WP thrash Border in Mdantsane Super Sport Rugby Challenge Festival

BY MARC JACOBSON - JUNE 5, 2017
EP Kings edge SWD Eagles, WP thrash Border in Mdantsane Super Sport Rugby Challenge Festival

Taking rugby to the roots for an interpersonal approach with communities in all corners of South Africa, the Super Sport Rugby Challenge took to its fourth of five scheduled Rugby Festivals at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in on Sunday.

Flocking out in numbers, 14 023 spectators witnessed the festival, which saw three back-to-back games on the day, one local club rugby match, followed by two Super Sport Challenge encounters.

The Eastern Province Kings took to the field against Cape neighbours, the SWD Eagles in the curtain-raised match-up, which saw the second half, a half of two halves if that can be rightly stated.

With the half-time score at 10-7 to the Kings, which saw them score two unconverted tries to the Eagles’ one converted, the second half was set to be the telling stage of the game.

Telling it was, as the Kings resumed well with two unanswered tries through Keanu Vers, scoring his second on the day in the corner received from a slick offload from Wandile Mjekevu.

The second was scored by prop Chris Heiberg, after built up pressure on the Eagles’ line opened up space for the prop to be sent into a gap and score the bonus-point try.

At this stage the score was 24-7 to EP and the men from Port Elizabeth looked ascertained for victory, before right after Heiberg’s try, replacement Rouche Nel was shown a yellow card and that seemed to be the knickpoint of the Eagles’ rise and EP’s downfall.

Almost immediately, the Eagles scored a try through a driving maul from that very yellow card issue, by eighth-man, Thor Halvorsen.

With momentum now in their sails, SWD replacement Marlo Weich outflanked the EP defence to score a blistering try down the touch-line, which narrowed the scores to 24-21.

The Kings managed to endure this momentum shift, as they ground out the remainder minutes for the narrow three-point victory.

In the main game, hosts Border Bulldogs were put to the sword by Western Province, who are now still the only unbeaten side in the Super Sport Challenge – as they clobbered Border 45-7.

Their excellence came predominantly in the second half, where the visitors scored 24 unanswered points (half-time 21-7) in the second 40, which included three tries in the last eight minutes when Border’s Sokuphumla Xakalashe was shown yellow.

WP are now cemented at the top of the South Section log, with the rest battling it out for second place to qualify for a possible quarter-final berth.

Border are currently second-placed with 16 points, while EP are at third with 15, three points above the Boland Cavaliers at fourth. The winless Eagles are placed last with six points, which makes it a three-way contest for second spot.

In the initial club opener, Swallows Rugby Club thrashed Winter Rose 41-11.