14-Man Kings claim first win

Date published: September 11 2015

The EP Kings picked up their first win of this year's Currie Cup on Friday, beating the Free State Cheetahs 32-24 despite having a men sent off early in the second half.

The Kings opened the scoring when full-back Scott van Breda slotted a penalty in the seventh minute after Free State were penalised in the scrum.

And they soon doubled their advantage when the visitors were pinged for being offside six minutes later.

It didn't take long for the Cheetahs to get on the board, however, after a textbook maul from the lineout allowed Gerhard Olivier to touch down inside 20 minutes. Fred Zeilinga added the extras as Free State took a 7-6 lead.

Four minutes later, the Cheetahs were back on the offensive as scrum-half Shaun Venter sold a dummy to the EP defence and went over untouched for their second try. The easy conversion was added from in front of the posts.

The Kings didn't lie down, however, and a great set piece move on the half-hour mark saw winger Luther Obi break the defence and race to the tryline from long range.

The conversion was good as it once again became a one-point game.

The Cheetahs would hit back not long after when Rayno Benjamin produced a perfect chip following some sustained pressure, allowing Clayton Blommetjies to collect the ball and finish in the corner.

The conversion was wide, and EP would have the final say in the half when Van Breda added their third penalty just before the whistle, leaving Free State with a narrow 19-16 advantage heading into the break.

Seven minutes into the second half, there was a big moment as center JP Du Plessis was shown a red card for an alleged punch on a Cheetahs man in the ruck. The footage from the TMO was inconclusive, but Du Plessis was sent packing all the same.

Surprisingly, it was the Kings who would score next after absorbing some pressure from the opposition.

After putting together some solid phases, Paul Schoeman broke into some space with a great dummy before offloading to Siyanda Grey, who scored under the poles. Van Breda converted to give the 14-man Kings a 23-19 lead.

Two penalties in quick succession would see the home side stretch their advantage to 29-19, as the Cheetahs continued to fail to make their numerical advantage count.

With 11 minutes to go, Van Breda maintained his flawless kicking performance as he converted another penalty to give the home side an imposing 32-19 lead.

There was late drama when Sergeal Petersen ran in the Cheetahs' fourth try with three minutes left on the clock, but the conversion was wide and the Kings held on for a well-deserved 32-24 victory.

The scorers:

For Kings:
Tries: Obi, Grey
Cons: Van Breda 2
Pens: Van Breda 6
Red card: Du Plessis

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Blommetjies, Venter, Olivier, Petersen 
Cons: Zeilinga 2

Eastern Province Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. 
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Cornell Hess, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Elgar Watts

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Cornal Hendricks, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje (c), 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 BG Uys. 
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Teunis Nieuwoudt, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21 Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Sias Ebersohn

Referee: Quinton Immelman