The EP Kings scored three late tries to stun the Vodacom Blue Bulls 34-31 (half-time 6-17) in their Vodacom Cup quarterfinal at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Blue Bulls had looked comfortable as they eased to a 31-13 lead after 64 minutes but the Kings scored three tries in the last seven minutes of the match to secure a semifinal place against the MTN Lions.
The Kings began their fightback when replacement scrumhalf Mpho Mbiyozo sniped over in the 73rd minute for a converted score.
Three minutes later the score was 31-27 when replacement loose forward Dalton Davis crashed over for a converted try and two minutes into extra time the Kings sealed a magnificent win when loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka crashed over from close range.
The Kings made an early impression on the scoreboard and they fashioned a 6-0 lead after 19 minutes courtesy of two penalties from fullback Scott van Breda.
However, the Bulls struck back through a 19th minute penalty from flyhalf Handre Pollard before the hosts took control of the contest with two converted tries in the space of three minutes.
Left wing Sampie Mastriet rounded off a fine team try in the 34th minute before outside centre Dries Swanepoel seared through a gap in Kings’ defence after being put into a gap by sumptuous pass from his centre partner Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
The Blue Bulls went to the break holding at comfortable 17-6 lead but the EP kings struck back six minutes after the restart when lock Stefan Willemse rumbled over for a converted try to narrow the gap to four points.
However, the hosts grabbed their third try 13 minutes later when flank Wiaan Liebenberg crashed over for a converted try after a powerful rolling maul.
The Blue Bulls’ powerful pack of forwards was starting to assert their dominance and the home team nabbed their fourth try when replacement prop Basil Short dotted down for a converted try after yet another rolling maul.
But if the hosts thought that they had the match sewn up they received a rude awakening.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Sampie Mastriet, Dries Swanepoel, Wiaan Liebenberg, Basil Short; Conversions: Handre Pollard (4); Penalty: Pollard.
EP Kings – Tries: Stefan Willemse, Mpho Mbiyozo, Dalton Davis, Lizo Gqoboka; Conversions: Scott van Breda, Wesley Dunlop (3); Penalties: Van Breda (2).