The Regent Boland Cavaliers scored three second-half tries to emerge victorious 22-20 (halftime 0-3) over the visiting Border Bulldogs in their Absa Currie Cup first division match played at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday afternoon.
The first half was characterised by a huge number of errors by both sides.
The first points of the match belonged to Bulldogs fullback Karlo Aspelling. He slotted an easy penalty to hand the visitors the lead after Boland had infringed on the ground with just over ten minutes gone on the clock.
Aspelling missed another penalty before Boland started holding on to the ball slightly better.
A superb break by flyhalf Len Olivier showed he had definitively gained some French flair while playing for Colomiers, but unfortunately outside-centre Johnathan Francke held on to the ball too long.
Francke was bundled over the dead-ball line and the crowd was left in shock, very similar as when Robbie Fleck was tackled from behind by Deon Kayser on the very same field back in 2001.
The visitors were reduced to 14 men after prop Renier Schoeman was shown a yellow card by referee Quintin Immelman for punching.
A few players were involved in the scuffle but unfortunately for Schoeman he was the biggest and therefore most visible player in the melee. Boland kicked the ball out but unfortunately nothing came from the ensuing passage of play.
Aspelling missed another penalty attempt before halftime and the visitors went into the break leading 3-0.
Coach Loffie Eloff must have given his charges the hairdryer treatment at halftime because Boland were a totally different team from then onwards.
Aspelling missed his third successive penalty before reserve winger Eric Zana broke down the left-hand touchline and drew a few Border defenders before putting flying fullback Jacquin Jansen away for the try.
Olivier kicked the extras and Boland led 7-3 after 44 minutes in the match.
Cecil Dumond narrowed the gap with a penalty but Boland were not to be stopped as captain Franzel September scored off a driving maul to extend the lead further.
Olivier nailed the touchline conversion to make it 14-6 after 55 minutes. September then broke the Border line again virtually moments later and Jansen was on hand to round off and score his second.
A missed conversion showed that Olivier had a human side, but he atoned by kicking a penalty a few minutes later after Border were adjudged to be offside.
The rest of the match saw Boland trying to secure a vital fourth try and the accompanying bonus point while the Bulldogs desperately wanted to get something for their efforts.
Reserve hooker Matthew Taljard dragged himself over the line to score a try for the visitors, which Dumond duly converted.
With five minutes left in the match the hosts still had a 22-13 lead and despite centre Quinton Crocker scoring a try on the stroke of fulltime, it was too little too late as despite Dumond kicking the conversion it ended 22-20 in favour of the Cavaliers.
Regent Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Jacquin Jansen (2), Franzel September; Conversions: Len Olivier (2); Penalties: Len Olivier
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Matthew Taljard, Quinton Crocker; Conversions: Cecil Dumond (2) ; Penalties: Karlo Aspeling, Cecil Dumond