Eagles through to first division final

The SWD Eagles qualified for next weekend’s First Division rugby final against the Pumas at Witbank with a well-deserved 31-18 win over the Griffons at Outeniqua Park on Friday night. The home team led 11-8 at halftime.

The match was spectacular from the start with SWD flyhalf Ricardo Croy outstanding. He was also named Man of the Match for his brilliant allround performance.

Croy made a huge difference to the Eagles side and ran the ball at every opportunity. He only kicked twice in the first half and helped his side over the advantage line on several occasions.

Centre Izak Saayman, scrumhalf Jandré Blom and right wing Norman Nelson were others to shine for the winning side in the back division, with hooker Junior Leota and locks Henry Grimes and Giant Mtyanda outstanding throughout.

For the Griffons centre Thabang Molefe had an excellent game with his straight running, while left wing Darryl Coeries also had his moments.

Croy opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 4th minute with a well-struck penalty (3-0). Six minutes later he so nearly increased the lead, but the ball struck the upright post. In the 12 minute fullback Bevin Fortuin succeeded with a left-footed drop goal after some enterprising play by the home team (6-0). The Griffons’ first points came in the 15th minute after scrumhalf Gerrie Odendaal dived over after a loose scrum on the SWD goal line.

Flyhalf Kennedy Tsimba missed the easy conversion (6-5). Eagles tight head prop Tiaan de Kock had to leave the field in the 17th minute with a suspected broken nose.

He returned a few minutes later, but did not last very long before the injury forced him off once again.

The Eagles increased their lead to 11-5 in the 18th minute when lock Henry Grimes scored in the corner after right winger Norman Nelson set up a brilliant movement. In the 25th minute Tsimba added a penalty to make the score 11-8.

In the 35th minute Nelson kicked ahead for SWD, picked up the ball and ran clear for the goalline, but he was caught by Tsimba who brought him down two metres short.

Croy added two more penalties for the Eagles in the 52nd and 64th minute to increase his side’s lead to 17-8. In the 71st minute replacement hooker Wayne Bennet scored a try for the Eagles after strong driving play by the home team’s forwards.

Croy succeeded with the conversion (22-8). With only nine minutes of play left it seemed all over for the Griffons, but they replied with two good tries in the space of four minutes.

In the 75th minute hard-working centre Thabang Molefe scored a well-deserved try (24-13). In the 79th minute Odendaal scored his second of the evening to make the score 24-18.

But thet was not the end of the drama. In the very last move of the day the Griffons desperately started to throw the ball around, but it was towering SWD lock Giant Mtyanda who intercepted to score close to the posts.

Nelson succeeded with the conversion.

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