The South Western District Eagles claimed a thrilling 28-27 (halftime 20-20) win over the Boland Cavaliers in their Carling Currie Cup first division clash at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday evening.
It was the perfect response for the Eagles, who lost their opening match last week against the EP Elephants while the Cavaliers have stuttered to their second loss of the campaign after losing to the Valke over the past weekend.
Despite the rainy conditions, it was an exciting first half that ended level, with the home side taking a good lead before the visitors fought back.
The Cavaliers were first on the board thanks to a first-minute penalty from fullback Cameron Hufke, but the Eagles were soon up and running four minutes later as outside centre Kirsten Heyns went over for the first try, converted by fullback Darryn Fortuin.
Fortuin then knocked over a ninth-minute penalty before his boot went cold as he missed a 13th-minute penalty followed by two conversions, after flyhalf JP Duvenhage and inside centre Edwin Sass dotted down, giving them a 20-3 lead after 19 minutes.
The Cavaliers then began their fightback as hooker Chadwin Robertson went over for two unconverted tries within four minutes, making it 20-13 after 28 minutes.
On the stroke of halftime, Cavaliers scrumhalf Jaiden Baron sniped over, with Hufke’s extras drawing the team’s level into the break.
The Eagles then got off to a fast start in the second half as left-wing Adi Jacobs went over within two minutes of the restart, while Duvenhage slotted a 54th-minute penalty to put his side 28-20 up.
Four minutes later, Baron went over for his second try, with right-wing Alshaun Bock nailing the conversion to make it a one-point game with a quarter of the match left.
However, the final 20 minutes were extremely tight, with neither side giving an inch, but the Cavaliers still had a chance to steal the win, only for replacement back Theodore Marinus to miss a penalty with six minutes remaining, allowing the Eagles to hold on.