Zandre Jordaan scored a brace of tries as the SWD Eagles picked up a bonus-point 36-17 (halftime 22-9) Vodacom Cup victory over the Border Bulldogs in Albertinia on Saturday.
The home side scored five tries to one as they confirmed their place in the quarterfinals with one league match remaining as they are eight points clear of the EP Kings who are in fifth place.
But it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the first minute when fullback Masixole Banda slotted a penalty. The Eagles struck back almost immediately with the first try through flanker Johannes Stander but fullback Elric van Vuuren missed the conversion.
SWD extended their lead to nine points as No 8 Zandre Jordaan crossed the tryline for his first try after 13 minutes with Van Vuuren slotting the conversion. Both sides sought to get the upper hand as Banda slotted two penalties either side of a penalty from Van Vuuren as just six points separated the teams with just five minutes remaining in the first half.
But outside centre Kirsten Ralph Heyns broke through the defence and scored the Eagles’ third try just before the break. Van Vuuren converted his second conversion as the home side entered the changerooms with the Eagles leading 22-9.
SWD took advantage of being a man to the good after Border’s flanker, Athenkosi Mamensta, was shown a yellow card when Jordaan crossed the white line for his second try of the match. Banda slotted his fourth penalty of the afternoon before Mamensta returned with the score 29-12 in favour of the hosts.
The Eagles extended their lead to 24 points despite being a man down after lock Schalk Oelofse was shown a red card when Bock scored his seventh try of the campaign, breaking down the left side of the field.
The final 20 minutes was littered with handling errors and poor decisions after both sides had made a host of changes but Border never gave up and scored their only try of the match when lock Ayabonga Nomboyo burst over the tryline in the corner after a good lineout and maul from the visitors. Banda missed the conversion as the Eagles ran out deserved 36-17 winners.
The Eagles have a difficult encounter in their final league match when they travel to Cape Town to play the table-topping and undefeated DHL Western Province while the Bulldogs end off their Vodacom Cup campaign with a home match against the Boland Cavaliers and will be attempting to avoid the wooden spoon.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Zandre Jordaan (2), Johannes Stander, Kirsten Ralph Heyns, Alshaun Bock; Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (4); Penalty: Van Vuuren.
Border Bulldogs – Try: Ayabonga Nomboyo; Penalties: Masixole Banda (4).