Daily Dispatch

Badge of honour for EP


Proud skipper Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda says Eastern Province will play for the charging Elephant emblem on their chest when they clash with the Sharks at the Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on Sunday.

Three defeats have snuffed out EP’s chances of making the SuperSport Rugby Challenge playoffs, but the men in red and black hoops are determined to end the season in style against the Sharks and a Zimbabwe Academy side.

A big crowd is expected at the Wolfson Stadium for an all-day festival that promises a feast of action as the Elephants defend their unbeaten record at the venue.

The EP versus Sharks clash at 2.30pm is the main game of a triple-header that starts with a club match between Missionval­e and Motherwell at 10.30am.

At midday the unbeaten South Section log leaders Western Province will be looking to maintain their perfect record when they face Free State.

The Sharks’ massive win over Border last week will keep the Boland Cavaliers and Free State on their toes as the race for playoff berths hots up.

If these teams slip up, then the Sharks could sneak into the two positions on the South Section log.

With so much at stake, the Elephants can expect a sustained assault from a Sharks side who will be scenting blood as they bid to climb up the logstandin­gs.

“I think the Sharks game will be amazing and the EP boys are gelling and slowly but surely they are playing well together. We will do our best to represent the EP badge,” said Mtyanda.

“The fans can expect a good game against the Sharks and we are looking forward to being back on home turf again.

“We are going to give the Sharks a run for their money and they will have to pull their socks up because we are coming for them.

“The Port Elizabeth festival is always a special day and a chance for our players to showcase their talent and give the

The guys are working hard to turn things around on the playing field

fans a good show. This is a chance to show what EP can do.”

EP have beaten the SWD Eagles and Border Bulldogs at home, but have fared badly on the road losing to the Boland Cavaliers, Free State and Western Province.

EP coach Chumani Booi has called for improved concentrat­ion and better execution on Sunday.

“Overall, I was pleased with the way the boys stuck to the plan against Western Province. We just need to improve on our execution, which at times let us down.

“We also lost concentrat­ion in the second half,” said Booi.

“I thought we put up a big defensive effort in the first half and we put Western Province under a lot of pressure.

“I thought with ball in hand we kept our shape well and we were able to threaten and get line-breaks a couple of times.

“In the second half we did well with our defensive effort, but unfortunat­ely our discipline let us down.

“We conceded quite a lot of penalties and we also got two yellow cards.”

EP Rugby president Andre Rademan has appealed for the rugby public to come out in big numbers to support the Elephants.

“This will be a feast of rugby and we want fans to rally behind the team at the Wolfson Stadium,” said Rademan.

“The guys are working hard to turn things around for the union on the playing field.

“I think we can get a capacity crowd if we do our homework leading up to the match.

“I know it means a lot to the players when they have the crowd behind them.” EP squad: Riaan Arendse, Tristan Fourie, Meli Rokoua, Sonwabile Mantyoyi, Ntabeni Dukisa, Athi Mayinje, Richman Gora, Rynardt van Wyk, Jurie van Vuuren, Diego Williams, Lubabalo Mtyanda (capt), Justin Forwood, Lindokuhle Welemu, Mihlali Mpafi, Xandre Vos, Johan van Wyk, Tembekile Boltina, Anele Lungisa, Steph de Wit, Sonwabo Majola, Martin du Toit, Sherwin Slater, Dundre Maritz, Luvuyo Pupuma, Garth Oosthuizen.

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