For the management of the SWD Eagles, the disappointment of losing 29-7 to Absa Currie Cup First Division log leaders EP Kings at Outeniqua Park last Friday was minimised by the style and guts with which their young team went to work.
The Kings led 12-0 at half time, but the Eagles held them to 5-0 for the first thirty minutes of the game.
“We’re taking this one on the chin because we were beaten by the better team on the night – but the guys showed incredible discipline and played for the full eighty minutes,” said team manager Martin de Vos.
“We struggled with our set pieces at times, and as a result our backline couldn’t ‘fire’ the way we know they can.”
Coach Johan Lerm said that the Eagles showed superb discipline against the more experienced and physically stronger Kings.
“It’s a very young team, especially when you consider that the Kings ran out with players like Luke Watson, and that their props are both approaching their thirties, whereas ours props are both under 25.
“When you compare this game with the King’s last game against Boland – Boland lost by 60 points – we think we did very well.
“We maintained and retained possession, and we definitely disturbed them from time to time.
“But it’s a learning process.
“Most importantly, though, the guys showed commitment and growth, and that was exactly what we wanted to see out of this game.
“In the end, when you’re developing a young team like ours, you have to compare yourselves to yourselves week on week – and we’re satisfied that we’re seeing real progress.”
Mr. de Vos said that the team needs three wins to find a place in the semis.
“So we’re still in with a chance – and now we’re going to focus on that this coming week.
“We really don’t think the game against the Pumas in Nelspruit is going to be a walk-over: it’s never easy playing in Nelspruit, and they’re going to go all out against us.
“But we’ll make sure that we’re 110% ready for them.”
Mr. de Vos said that Anton van der Westhuizen left the field on Friday with a pulled hamstring, and that Hans van Dyk and Dean Hopp are still being rested after recent injuries.
“We’ll start the week as we always do with medical assessments for the players who need them, and we’ll go through the videos to study where and how we can improve our game – and we’re confident that when we announce the team later in the week, we’ll be well prepared for the Pumas.”
Absa Currie Cup First Division, Outeniqua Park (George), 24 August 2012: EP Kings 29 – SWD Eagles 7 (half time: 12 – 0).
Try: Lyndon Hartnick
Conversion: Elric van Vuuren
Tries: Norman Nelson, Wesley Dunlop, Wayne Stevens, Clint Newland; Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (3)
Penalty: Wesley Dunlop