Durban - The EP Kings sprung a surprise as they secured a 27-11 (half-time 14-8) win over the previously unbeaten Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup South Section match at Kings Park in Durban on Friday.
The Kings ran in three tries to one but the win came too late for them to qualify for the quarter-finals. The Sharks XV are guaranteed a home quarter-final despite their first loss of the season.
The hosts opened the scoring thanks to right wing Sizo Maseko who showed superb strength and a wonderful finish that saw him force his way over in the corner for an unconverted try in the 11th minute.
The Kings struck back eight minutes later with a well-worked try which saw left wing Sergeal Petersen show good pace to make an outside break.
Petersen then swapped passes with eighthman Aidon Davis before cantering away for a converted try.
The Sharks XV regained the lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty from flyhalf Jean-Luc Du Plessis.
The Kings had the stronger finish of the two teams and flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa sprinted clear from 40 metres out after intercepting a loose pass before he converted his own try to hand EP a handy lead at the break.
Dukisa and Du Plessis swapped penalties after the break to leave EP holding a 17-11 lead after 50 minutes.
The visitors extended their lead once again three minutes later thanks to a penalty from replacement wing Kayle van Zyl.
The hosts had almost complete territorial dominance in the final quarter but the Kings grabbed their third try with nine minutes left in the game.
Fullback Malcolm Jaer chased through a speculative kick with his tackle resulting in a loose ball. The impressive Davis was on hand to secure the turnover ball with replacement centre Brian Skosana on hand to round off a superb team try which highlighted how hard the Kings had worked throughout the contest.
Sharks XV - Tries: Sizo Maseko; Penalties: Jean-Luc Du Plessis (2).
EP Kings - Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Ntabeni Dukisa, Brian Skosana; Conversions: Dukisa (2), Kayle van Zyl; Penalties: Dukisa, Van Zyl.