Although the SWD Eagles went down 50-49 to the Griffons in a thrilling encounter at the North West Stadium in Welkom on Saturday, the team is hopeful that it might still make it into the semi finals of the Absa Currie Cup First Division.
“Both teams came into the match with high hopes for the semi-finals because both knew that they have a chance to reach the play-offs – so everyone had everything to play for,” said the manager of the Eagles, Martin de Vos.
He said, though, that the team made a disappointing start.
“It wasn’t what we hoped for. The Griffons capitalised on a few mistakes on our part, which let them take an early lead. At stages our tactical decision-making and man-to-man defence let us down, and this allowed them to run in in some soft tries.
“But we hit our rhythm from the moment we decided to keep the ball, and we ran in a couple of tries before half time.”
The Griffons went in to the break with a lead of 31 to 22.
“We started the 2nd half in ideal fashion, and reduced the deficit to just 4 points within the third quarter.
“We continued to apply the pressure, and lead 46-38 with 11 minutes to go – and we were still leading 49-43 with two minutes remaining when the Griffons converted a try.
“It was the deal maker for them, although we outscored them by eight tries to seven,” he said.
The Eagles’s Ghafoer Luckan scored a hat trick, with other tries coming from Elric van Vuuren, Alshaun Bock, Nicolaas Hanekom, Dumisane Meslane, and Mzoxolo Dyantyi.
“The result was disappointing, especially after our away win against Boland last week, and when you compare this game with our convincing win against the Griffons in August during the first round, when we beat them 20-13 in George,” said Mr. de Vos.
“But the two points we earned keep us mathematically in the hunt for a play-off,” he said.
The Eagles now have 38 points against the fourth-placed Griffons (43) and the Leopards (also on 43; the Pumas are lying second with 49, and the EP Kings lead with 58).
“Depending on what happens in the other games next weekend, we could find ourselves in fourth place – but we can’t influence that. Our focus is now on making sure that we end the season on a high note when we face the Falcons this week George.
“We owe that to ourselves and our fanatic supporters,” said Mr. de Vos.
“Hopefully it will not be our last match for the season.”
Since the Eagles sustained no injuries against the Griffons, Mr. de Vos said that the team is looking strong for the game against the Falcons – which kicks off on Friday, September 28th, at 17:05 at Outeniqua Park in George.
“We hope we’ll have a capacity crowd for what promises to be a very festive evening,” he said.
Absa Currie Cup First Division, North West Stadium (Welkom) on Saturday, 22 September 2012: Griffons 50 – SWD Eagles 49 (half time: Griffons 31 – Eagles 22).
Tries: Japie Nel (2), Nicky Steyn, Hansie Graaff, Shane Hancke, Sarel Louw, Werner Griesel.
Conversions: Graaff (6).
Tries: Ghafoer Luckan (3), Elric van Vuuren, Alshaun Bock, Nicolaas Hanekom, Dumisane Meslane, Mzoxolo Dyantyi.
Conversions: Burton Francis (2), Van Vuuren.