Boland through to last four
Marco Botha
April 24, 2010
A few stern words at halftime by coach Eugene Eloff are probably what saved the Boland Cavaliers on Saturday when they won their Vodacom Cup quarterfinal against the Leopards 30-25 (halftime 6-19).

The first half was nothing to get excited about. Leopards fullback, Russel Jeacocks, scored in the third minute. And though the visitors were better at controlling their possession, neither team really treated the ball with the necessary respect.

Two penalties by Boland fullback Jacquin Jansen kept Boland in the game, but after their captain, Bolla Conradie, left the field with a groin injury in the 27th minute, the home team started to fall apart.

The former Cavalier wing Deon Scholtz scored for the Leopards and flyhalf Cecil Dumond had a good day with his kicking boot. This gave the Leopards a healthy 19-6 lead at the break.

What then happened in Boland’s dressing room will probably only be known in time, but it worked.

Eloff made a few changes to his starting team, and it was replacement lock Nikolai Blignaut who scored almost immediately after the restart.

Shortly before that Boland were rewarded a very kickable penalty, but chose to tap the ball. Aggressive running and rucking lead to the Cavaliers’ first try.

Dumond then did his bit again, and the Leopards still led handsomely by 22-11.

But then Leopards lock Ligtoring Landman was shown yellow for a professional infringement. Boland chose to scrum five metres away from their opponents’ tryline, but the visitors hooked a tight-head with one man short.

Bizarrely the ball was kicked into a Boland player, Janru van Niekerk picked it up and scored Boland’s second five-pointer.

This gave the Cavaliers a lot of confidence and where they would have knocked on a ball in the first half, they did what made them a very good Vodacom Cup team this year -- they took chances.

Number 12 Dewey Swartbooi would be instrumental in the revival. First he took a small gap that led to flyhalf Lionel Cornelius’ try. This was in the 58th minute and the first time Boland took the lead.

Swartbooi then scored a try of his own and Jansen’s boot did the rest.

Though the Leopards tried valiantly to get some points on the board, Boland doggedly stuck to their defensive structures. What a difference 40 minutes can make.


Boland Cavaliers 30 – Tries: Nikolai Blignaut, Janru van Niekerk, Lionel Cornelius, Dewey Swartbooi. Conversions: Jacquin Jansen (2). Penalties: Jansen (2)

Leopards 25 – Tries: Russel Jeacocks, Deon Scholtz. Penalties: Cecil Dumond (5).

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