The SWD Eagles held off a strong second-half fightback by the Griffons to seal a 20-13 (17-0) victory in their Absa Currie Cup First Division clash at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday night.
The hosts scored all their opening period points inside 18 minutes
thanks to tries from Alshaun Bock and Grant Kemp.
A one-sided encounter was well on the cards at that stage, but the
match took a dramatic twist after the restart when the Eagles were
reduced to 13 men -- paving the way for a strong comeback via scores from
Hansie Graaff and Nicky Steyn.
However, the Griffons fell just short and in the process missed the
chance to make up ground on the log-leading Eastern Province Kings,
who dropped points in the only other match of the evening which ended
in a 30-30 tie against the Ford Pumas.
The Eagles on the other hand stayed in fifth place, but their
performance was far from convincing in front of their home fans.
They made a flying start to the match and were ahead just four minutes
in when winger Bock crossed for the opening try, which was converted
by Elric van Vuuren.
Fullback Van Vuuren added a penalty moments later, before the lead was
stretched to 17-0 shortly before the first quarter mark when prop Kemp
bulldozed his way over for another converted score.
But the Eagles then seemed to go to sleep and failed to add to their
tally again before the break
The visitors came out firing after the restart and were rewarded in
the 55th minute after replacement forward Sithole crossed the
whitewash for their first points with Robert van Schalkwyk missing the
Just past the hour mark, the home side had two players yellow carded
when Michael Vermaak and Mzoxolo Dyantyi were sent to the bin either
side of Sithole also being penalised with a 10-minute sit-out by
referee Lusanda Jam.
With 12 minutes to go, number eight Steyn set up a tense finish with a
superb breakaway try for his side after he exchanged passes with
several of his backline teammates to run in from 60 metres.
Crucially, though, Van Schalkwyk missed the conversion, before
replacement fullback Tiaan van Wyk scored a penalty to cut the gap to
But all hopes of a comeback were then ended when Van Vuuren landed a
second penalty four minutes from time to seal the win.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Jeffrey Taljard, Grant Kemp. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (2). Penalties: Van Vuuren, Theuns Kotze.
Griffons – Tries: Martin Sithole, Nicky Steyn. Penalty: Tiaan van Wyk.