Falcons, Griffons break ducks
The Falcons and Griffons showed tremendous character in the First Division this weekend to end their four-match losing streaks.
The Falcons and Griffons showed tremendous character this weekend as they rose to the challenge in the First Division to end their four-match losing streaks.
The Falcons started strongly to overcome the determined Border Bulldogs 34-29 in Kempton Park on Friday, while the Griffons staged a dramatic comeback against the Leopards in Welkom on Saturday for a surprise 34-28 victory.
The Pumas, meanwhile, stretched their winning run to five matches as they outplayed the SWD Eagles 60-20 in Nelspruit, and the Boland Cavaliers registered their fourth back-to-back victory as they defeated the EP Kings 30-23 in Port Elizabeth.
The Falcons started their clash with a bang as they breached Border’s defence early on to score two tries in the first 21 minutes for a 14-0 lead.
Border hit back with a try by wing Andrew van Wyk, but the Falcons’ third try of the half by lock Johan de Bruin and a penalty minutes later cancelled out the visitors efforts.
The Bulldogs fought back with intent in the second half, which earned them two tries in the first six minutes and allowed them to close in on the home team.
This resulted in a tight finish with the sides each crossing the try-line once more for their bonus point tries. But Falcons flyhalf Juan Kotze’s accurate goal-kicking proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.
In Welkom, the Leopards applied early pressure and reaped the rewards with a 14-3 lead in the 23rd minute against the Griffons. But vital tries by the home team before and after half-time, and another on the stroke of the fourth quarter, bolstered their confidence and handed them the lead.
The Leopards, however, clawed their way back in the 70th minute as wing Edmar Marais crossed the chalk for his second try. But the Griffons’ desperation for a victory drove them to retain possession and apply pressure on attack.
With the team playing in the right areas and the players highly motivated, flank Erik le Roux crashed over for the bonus point try five minutes before the final whistle. Flyhalf Louis Strydom backed this up with a drop goal to seal the 34-28 win.
The Boland Cavaliers, meanwhile, dominated the first half against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth and earned a valuable 20-11 lead for their efforts. They inflated this to 30-11 after the break thanks to a converted try by SA President’s XV back Jacquin Jansen and flyhalf Len Olivier’s third penalty.
But the balance of power shifted soon after as the Cavaliers made a comedy of errors which allowed the Kings to dictate play. With momentum on their side they reduced the score to 30-23, but it proved to be a case of too little too late for the Port Elizabeth team.
In Nelspruit, the Pumas charged to their fifth successive victory as they outscored the SWD Eagles nine tries to two, with the second half, in particular, proving to be a one-sided affair.
First Division Round Five results and scorers:
Pumas 60-20 SWD Eagles
For the Pumas:
Tries: Herne 2, Bezuidenhout, Mtyanda, Koch, Bell 2, Kember, Van der Walt
Cons: Bezuidenhout 6
For SWD Eagles:
Tries: Godfrey, Bock
Cons: Van Staden 2 Pens: Van Staden 2
Griffons 34-28 Leopards
For the Griffons:
Tries: Nortje 2, Griesel, Le Roux
Cons: Strydom 4
For the Leopards:
Tries: Marais 2, Marutlulle, Obi
Cons: Engelbrecht 4
EP Kings 23-30 Boland Cavaliers
For EP Kings: TBC
For Boland Cavaliers: TBC
Falcons 34-29 Border Bulldogs
For the Falcons:
Tries: Mostert, Bothma, De Bruin, Cronje
Cons: Kotze 4
Pens: Kotze 2
For the Border Bulldogs
Tries: Van Wyk, Mkhafu, Tonga, Shabangu
Cons: Jacobs 2, Spring
First Division log:
1 Pumas - W 5 D 0 L 0 Pts 22
2 Leopards - W 3 D 0 L 2 Pts 16
3 Boland Cavaliers - W 4 D 0 L 1 Pts 16
4 Eagles - W 2 D 0 L 3 Pts 13
5 EP Kings - W 2 D 0 L 3 Pts 12
6 Falcons - W 1 D 1 L 3 Pts 9
7 Border Bulldogs - W 1 D 0 L 4 Pts 8
8 Griffons - W 1 D 1 L 3 Pts 8