THE Eastern Province Kings lost their final warm up friendly to the Free State Cheetahs, losing 12 (5) points to the Cheetahs 28 (7) at the Cradock Sports Fields this afternoon (SUBS: Friday 1 August).
The Kings took to the field with a much changed team from their game against the SWD Eagles that won in George two weeks ago by 78 points to 32, and were let down a bit by two late tries by the Cheetahs in the second half.
The first half got off to a slow start with both teams feeling each other out and with the EP Kings shifting their focus from running rugby to a more set style of play, with a strong emphasis on kicking the ball.
A bit of loose play resulted in the first points being added to the board after an intercept by the Cheetahs, with Francois Venter dotting the ball down behind the whitewash for the visitors. Willie du Plessis converted and took the Cheetahs to seven points.
Siviwe Shakes Soyizwapi broke through the Cheetahs defense and dotted down in the far corner shortly after to get the Kings on the board, with Scott van Breda’s conversion pulling to the left.
The teams went into the half time break with the Kings trailing just two points on five to the Free State Cheetahs seven.
The second half was much of the same, with the Cheetahs captain Torsten van Jaarsveld getting the first points of the second half, 10 minutes in with a try neatly converted by Elgar Watts.
After another 20 minutes of play back and forth between the two halves, Soyizwapi once again broke through the Cheetahs line and dotted the ball down neatly between the posts for his second try of the game, with Ntabeni Dukisa putting the conversion over to take the Kings to 12.
The Kings then tried to step up the pace, but were let down by a brief lapse in concentration that saw Francois Venter dot down his second try of the evening, with AJ le Roux following him shortly thereafter to get the Cheetahs fourth try of the game on the final whistle.
Both tries were converted by Watts, to take the visitors to 28 points to the Kings 12 at full time.
Tries: Shakes Soyizwapi (2)
Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa (1)
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Francois Venter (2) Torsten van Jaarsveld (1) AJ le Roux (1)
Conversions: Willie du Plessis (1) Elgar Watts (3)