South Western Districts won a fast-paced Absa First Division Currie Cup match 36-12 at the Buffalo City stadium in East London on Friday night in front of a sparse crowd in cool conditions.
The halftime score was 17-7 to the Eagles.
The Eagles attacked from the opening whistle and play was confined to the Border half for a good seven minutes, with the home team defending furiously after a couple of concerted attacks by the Eagles.
The visitors’ line-out work was not clicking though and Border were able to gain valuable possession through some bad jumping by the Eagles’ forwards.
After about 10 minutes there was a rush of blood to the head by a couple of Eagles as they attacked Border No 8 Spanner Pretorius. After some fisticuffs, order was restored.
An excellent break by prop Roy Godfrey along the left side saw the ball move swiftly across the Eagles backline for right wing Clint Wagman, who showed his pace throughout, to dot down under the post after 14 minutes. Centre Jeff Taljard converted.
Ten minutes later Border went off-side and Taljard took an easy penalty close to the posts, making the score 10-0 to SWD.
Two minutes later Border made a further error when a wild pass was intercepted by left wing Alshaun Bock, who went over under the posts for Taljard to complete another easy conversion.
But Border fought back and moments later scrumhalf Shannon Rick put in a magnificent cross-kick for right wing Chrislyn van Schalkwyk to collect and dart over. Fyhalf Karlo Aspeling coverted.
Just before halftime Taljard missed a penalty as Border again went off-side, but this time the kick was from about 30 metres out and close to the touchline.
In the half both teams were guilty of numerous handling errors.
Border came out all guns firing in the second half but they could not penetrate the defensive wall of the Eagles.
It was the visitors who scored in the 16th minute when a melee formed close to the Border tryline and hooker Martin Ferreira barged over. Taljard missed the kick.
Again Border fought back promptly. Four minutes later after some good runs by the backline, there was a maul some 10 metres out and rangy lock Stephan Gerber went over. Aspeling was unable to convert. The Eagles led by 10 points, 22-12, with Border playing catch-up rugby and the minutes ticking by.
Taljard tried a long-range penalty that hit the left upright, and the Eagles continued to camp deep in Border territory.
SWD scored twice in the closing stages of the match. First wing Bock went over for his second try and in the last few moments of the game flank Christo du Plessis scored a break-away try much against the run of play. Centre Gerrit Smith converted both tries.
The Eagles go home with a well-deserved victory under their belts.
Border Bulldogs - Tries: Chrislyn van Schalkwyk, Stephan Gerber; Conversions: Karlo Aspeling.
SWD Eagles - Tries: Clint Wagman, Asaun Bock (2), Martin Ferreira, Christo du Plessis; Penalties: Jeff Taljard; Conversions: Taljard (2), Gerrit Smith (2).