The SWD Eagles recorded one of their most dramatic turnarounds when they outclassed the Leopards 64-34 in their Absa Currie Cup first division match at Outeniqua Park last Friday.
The Eagles led 27-20 at half time.
The win comes on the back of a deeply disappointing away loss to the Pumas in Nelspruit last week, and contrasts starkly with an earlier loss to the Leopards, which saw the Eagles going down 68 – 35 in Potchefstroom on the 21st of July this year.
The score in Friday’s game did see-saw a little: after the Eagles came out firing (with two tries and a successful penalty in the first fifteen minutes to lead 17 – 0), the Leopards fought back to 34 – 34 in the 54th minute. But they stood no chance after that as the hosts rammed victory home in the final quarter of the game – with two drop goals within two minutes from fly-half Burton Francis, as well as a try from Jeff Taljard and two from Johan Herbst (all three of which were converted by Elric van Vuuren) in the final six minutes of play.
“Given the fact that we lost badly last week to the Pumas, and given that the Leopards gave us a hammering the last time we met, to have come back like this was incredible,” said SWD Eagles Team Manager, Martin de Vos.
“The guys were just brilliant on the night.”
He said that they couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“With two tries in the first fifteen minutes, it was clear that the team meant business, and that they’ve put the Pumas game firmly in the past.
“We worked hard to meet the challenges of that loss, and I think we can safely say that the results have spoken for themselves through some really attractive and enterprising rugby.
“Also important is the fact that we finished the game the way we started – totally in control.”
He said that the entire team contributed to the Eagles’ seven try haul.
“The foundation was laid with Layle Delo (at number 1), Lyndon Hartnick (7) and Wilhelm Koch (6) leading the charge – but it’s important to note that the impressive performance of our forwards allowed the backs to run in all seven of our tries.
“Johan Herbst (7) scored a hat-trick, and Elric van Vuuren (15) was faultless with his boot – while Burton Francis (21) made a significant impact after coming off the bench and slotting two beautiful drop goals,” said Mr. de Vos.
He said that a few niggling injuries will be assessed first thing this week as the team begins preparing for its match against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on Saturday the 15th.
“We have to stay humble, keep our feet on the ground and work extra hard so that we can put in a repeat performance on Saturday – because Boland has a lot of pride as the defending champions.
“We’re still in with a chance to make it to the semis, and we’re keeping our eye firmly on that goal at this point.”
Absa Currie Cup First Division, Outeniqua Park (George), 7 September 2012: SWD Eagles 64 – Leopards 34 (half time: SWD Eagles 27 – Leopards 20).
Tries: Nico Hanekom, Johan Herbst (3), Jeff Taljard, Ghafoer Luckan, Clint Wagman.
Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (7)
Penalties: Van Vuuren (3)
Drop goals: Burton Francis (2).
Tries: Victor Kruger, Hoffman Maritz, Berty Visser, Adriaan Engelbrecht.
Conversions: André Pretorius (4)
Penalties: André Pretorius (2).