BETTER late than never is a phrase EP Kings skipper Albe de Swardt may use to galvanise his troops as they bid to end their Vodacom Cup campaign season with a big bang against a Sharks 15 in Durban next Saturday.
After slumping to three alarming defeats, the Kings finally got back on the winning track with a 28-21 win over a feisty Boland Cavaliers team at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Ahead of the Boland game De Swardt said: “It is a bit late in the competition, but we can end on a high and get the respect of the fans. Even though we lost against the Eagles in our previous game it was a showing that gave us a lot of confidence because we showed a fighting spirit and we also have some dog in ourselves.
“Now we are looking forward to the visit to Durban to the Shark cage. We are starting to become a team now.”
Unfortunately for De Swardt and his team the win over Boland came too late and was not enough to clinch them a berth in the playoffs.
Against Boland cool-headed Kings flyhalf Ntabeni Dukisa kicked two conversions and three penalties to help the Kings break their losing streak and take his tally of points for the season to 38.
De Swardt and his solid pack laid the foundations for EP’s win over the Bolanders and they will be looking for more of the same against the Sharks.
Needing to finish among the top four sides to qualify, the Kings are languishing in fifth place and unable to make the playoffs even if they spring a surprise and best the Sharks.
After six matches the South Section logs reads: Sharks (27), Western Province (23), Eagles (21), Free State 15 (21), EP Kings (11), Tusker Simba 15 (7), Boland (6), Border Bulldogs (5).
So while the four teams who will contest the Vodacom Cup quarterfinals from the South Section have been decided, the race to get into the playoffs in the North Section is not over yet.
And to add some spice, in the final round (in two weeks’ time) four of the top five teams in the North Section take on each other in two highly anticipated clashes.
The defending champion Golden Lions (currently fourth on the log) host last year’s runners-up the Pumas (first), while Griquas (second) have to travel to North West province to take on the Leopards 15 (fifth).
The Blue Bulls (third) host the Limpopo Blue Bulls in Pretoria and a likely win should cement their place in the quarterfinals.
Of the top five, only the Leopards lost in round six when they went down to the Pumas in Middelburg on Saturday afternoon (44-31), where big Rudi Matthee scored two of the winning team’s tries.
The Golden Lions carded the first century of points for 2014 when they trounced the Limpopo Blue Bulls by 110-0 in Polokwane on Saturday.
In other games Griquas and the Blue Bulls were too strong for the Falcons (64-34) and Griffons (49-10) respectively in two high scoring matches. – George Byron