The Regent Boland Cavaliers hung on for a vital, away victory in Bloemfontein, as they beat the Toyota Free State XV 27-23 in their Vodacom Cup clash at the CUT Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors led 14-11 at the break, thanks to two powerful tries by Boland’s combative flanker, Thor Halvorsen, who had an eventful match. After scoring a brace of tries in the first half, he ended the match in the sin-bin, as he was yellow carded with two minutes left on the clock.
Free State XV had made the stronger start in windy Bloemfontein, as Tewis de Bruyn slotted two early penalties to open up a six point lead. But, midway through the first half, Halvorsen pounced, and bundled his way through the home defence for the opening try. Ricardo Croy, who replaced starting flyhalf Jacquin Jansen as early as the tenth minute due to injury, added the conversion as the visitors took the lead. Croy did miss two penalties to stretch Boland’s lead, as the kickers battled in the blustery conditions.
Halvorsen, enjoying a good day’s work on the side of the scrum, then squeaked over for his second try of the match just before halftime, and Croy duly added the extras. The Free State XV were then handed an advantage, as Boland flank Franzel September was sin-binned. In his absence, Free State speedster Ludwig Erasmus finished off a flowing move for the home side’s opening try.
The missed conversion saw the home side trail 11-14 at halftime. After the break, Croy slotted his first penalty of the match, but the home side closed the gap to just two points when centre Joubert Engelbrecht sliced through the Boland defence.
De Bruyn again missed the conversion, but he made some amends as he popped over for a try of his own, which he did convert to give the home side a three-point lead (21-17). Croy then weighed in with his second penalty for the visitors, as they trailed by one point. Replacement back Tythan Adams then scored a fine, running try, which was converted by Garth April, who had taken over the kicking duties from Croy.
Halvorsen was then yellow carded in the 78th minute, but his teammates were able to hold on to secure a crucial, first win of the season.
Toyota Free State XV (23): Tries: Tewis de Bruyn, Joubert Engelbrecht, Ludwig Erasmus Conversions: De Bruyn (1) Penalties: De Bruyn (2)
Regent Boland Cavaliers (27): Tries: Thor Halvorsen (2), Tythan Adams Conversions: Ricardo Croy (2), Garth April (1) Penalties: R Croy (2)