The SWD Eagles beat the Valke 24-15 in a match that was a poor advertisement for Absa Currie Cup First Division rugby in George on Friday.The Eagles had been reasonably impressive in racking up a 21-3 half-time lead, but their faithful supporters at a chilly Outeniqua Park might have been close to disowning them in the second half as they lost whatever spice and intensity they had before the break.The Valke did well to make a match of it in the second half, but even they spurned several chances they had made.
The splendidly-named Eagles lock, Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda burst over for the opening try in the sixth minute, and fullback Elric van Vurren sent the conversion soaring between the poles.
The home side’s 7-0 lead was pegged back though just seven minutes later as Valke wing Kyle Hendricks kicked a penalty (7-3).
SWD outside centre Kempie Rautenbach then made an exciting run to score the Eagles’ second try, also converted by Van Vuuren, to stretch the lead to 14-3 after 17 minutes.
The Eagles were back on the scoreboard again just six minutes later through an excellent try by inside centre Jeff Taljard. The extremely powerful SWD forwards did the initial work by rumbling up-field, before allowing the backs to punish an outnumbered defence, Taljard bursting through a gap to score.
Van Vuuren converted and the Eagles were sitting pretty, 21-3 up, heading into the second half. But they would be disrupted by a yellow card for repeat offences to flyhalf Adrian Beswick, who had enjoyed a fine game up till then, soon after the break.
The Valke were quick to capitalise, with lock Johann de Bruin blasting over from close-range for their first try. Replacement flyhalf Chanley Williams converted to close the gap to 21-10.
Van Vuuren stretched the lead to 24-10 with a penalty two minutes later, but they would be the only points the Eagles scored in the second half.
The Valke added further respectability to the scoreline when replacement back John-Wessel Bell scored a fine try with seven minutes remaining.
The Eagles’ lead was never seriously threatened though, and they closed out the match to secure a win that will be quickly forgotten.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Lubabalo Mtyanda, Kempie Rautenbach, Jeff Taljard. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (3). Penalty: Van Vuuren.
Valke – Tries: Johann de Bruin, John-Wessel Bell. Conversion: Chanley Williams. Penalty: Kyle Hendricks.
Source: SA Rugby