Western Province recovered from an indifferent first half to beat the EP Kings 35-16 in their opening Currie Cup clash on Friday.
Western Province recovered from an indifferent first half to comfortably beat the EP Kings 35-16 in their opening Currie Cup clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.
In an entertaining game, WP outscored their hosts four tries to two, earning a bonus point in the process as they made a solid start to their campaign.
While the five-point haul will make the headlines, it was Province's excellent defensive effort that provided the platform for the victory.
Both sides can be applauded for their positive intent. The home side turned down a number of opportunities to kick at goal in favour of chasing tries but they will rue a misfiring line-out that let them down at crucial times.
The Kings led 11-10 at the interval thanks to a try from skipper Luke Watson – off the back of a rolling maul – and two penalties from fly-half Gary van Aswegen as the hosts punished WP's poor discipline.
Indeed, the visitors had taken the early lead via a great try from replacement wing Pat Howard, who sliced through the EP midfield to score untouched, but two yellow cards saw the initiative swing in the home side's favour.
The second half was a different story however as Province took the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring 20 unanswered points by the hour mark.
Fly-half Demetri Catrakilis continued his faultless display from the kicking tee while number eight Nizaam Carr and inside centre Michael van der Spuy both touched down to give the visitors a handy lead.
Replacement wing Kevin Luiters pulled a late try back for the Kings – following WP's third yellow card – but by then the result had been settled.
WP secured the bonus-point fourth try after the final hooter as full-back Cheslin Kolbe caught the EP defence napping to score from close range.
For EP Kings:
Tries: Watson, Luiters
Pens: Van Breda 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Howard, Carr, Van der Spuy, Kolbe
Cons: Catrakilis 3
Pens: Catrakilis 3
Yellow cards: Carizza, Cilliers, Senatla
EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Cummins, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 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.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Eben Etzebeth, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Pat Howard.
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Deon van Blommestein