Johannesburg – The Eastern Province Kings opened their Vodacom Cup account with an impressive 60-6 (half-time 36-6) victory over the Border Bulldogs on the Great Field at Rhodes University in Grahamstown on Saturday.
After suffering a disappointing opening day defeat at the hands of Kenya's Tusker Simba XV last weekend, the Kings bounced back royally to run in nine unanswered tries. They produced a running rugby spectacle which will be remembered in these parts for some time thereby consigning the Bulldogs to their second consecutive defeat in as many weeks.
While the Kings ran rampant scoring tries almost at will, Border could only reply with two first half penalties from centre Jeffrey Taljard.
One of the Taljard penalties put Border into an early 3-0 lead but the Kings struck back almost immediately with a try from right wing Eben Barnard. Flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa kicked the conversion.
After Taljard slotted his second penalty teammate and left wing Lolo Waka was sinbinned in the 23rd minute and that was when the Kings stepped up a gear and ran with purpose.
Dukisa landed a penalty to make it 10-6 and then fullback Coyi Banda took advantage of some wide passing to stretch his legs and score his team's second try which Dukisa converted.
Another three tries from centre Brian Skosana, Banda and scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly saw the Kings to a 36-6 lead at halftime.
Skosana managed his second score soon after the restart and Dukisa kicked the conversion as the Kings led 41-6.
Border then fought back but they failed to convert the pressure into points and it was left Kings number eight Ivan-John du Preez to break past several defenders to score a fine try and extend the homeside's lead.
Replacements Selvyn Davids and Sonwabo Majola added the final two tries to complete an impressive routing.
The EP Kings travel to Cape Town to face Western Province in their next match while Border Bulldogs will look for a massive improvement when they host the Tusker Simba XV in Buffalo City.
Scorers EP Kings: Tries: Eben Barnard, Coyi Banda (2), Brian Skosana (2), Dwayne Kelly, Ivan-John du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Sonwabo Majola; Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa (5), Dwayne Kelly (1); Penalties: Ntabeni Dukisa (1).
Border Bulldogs: Penalties: Jeffrey Taljard (2) - Sapa