Eagles edge error ridden Bulldogs
June 09, 2018
The Border Bulldogs were made to pay for a litany of errors as the visiting South Western District Eagles produced a late surge to claim a 24-17 win in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge match at the BCM Stadium on Friday night.

The result means the Eagles move up into second place on the south section log, with the Boland Cavaliers having a chance to reclaim that place when they play Western Province on Saturday, while the Bulldogs fall out of the running for the knock outs.

The first half was a back and forth affair with neither side allowing the other to get away.

Although the Bulldogs enjoyed more possession and territory in the opening 15 minutes, they were unable to make it count with the only points being an early penalty from flyhalf Aphiwe Stemele in the second minute which Eagles fullback Leighton Eksteen cancelled out in the fourth minute with one of his own.

Both teams then came close to scoring, the Bulldogs knocking the ball on, on the Eagles try line and the Eagles after breaking into the home teams 22m before an errant pass found the scrambling Bulldogs defence and was cleared.

Finally in the 23rd minute the Bulldogs broke the Eagles defence as an attempted kick from Eagles flyhalf Robbie Petzer was charged down on the half way line and hacked ahead before the Bulldogs secured the ball deep in the visitors 22m.

From the ruck the ball was spread to the right quick where left wing Somila Jho joined the line, stepped inside a defender and went over to the right of the posts.

Stemele slotted the extras to put the home side 10-3 up.

Seven minutes later the Eagles hit back after they kicked a penalty onto the Bulldogs 5m.

After securing the line out they attacked with a number of pick and go's before the ball was popped to Eagles inside centre and captain Marlou van Niekerk to crash over to the right of the uprights, allowing Eksteen to kick an easy conversion to draw the scores level.

Eagles lock Cornell Hess was then yellow carded for a swinging arm high tackle in the 33rd minute, but despite having the numerical advantage the home side were unable to retake the lead, with Stemele missing a 36th minute penalty as the sides went in to the break deadlocked.

The second half was then a scrappy affair, with both sides making a host of errors and neither able to really capatalise on them.

It was the Bulldogs however retook the lead in the 48th minute after a number of knock ons from both teams ended with the home side having a scrum on their own 22m.

From the scrum the ball was swung to the blind side where right wing Siphosenkosi Nofemele received it and pinned his ears back, bouncing a defender off before sprinting away to score under the posts.

Fullback Xolela Payi then added the extras from in front to put the home side back ahead 17-10.

The Bulldogs then had a couple of opportunities to put some daylight between themselves and the Eagles, but made mistakes in crucial areas allowing the visitors to clear.

This then saw the home side punished in the 67th minute as the Eagles were held up over the try line after a good attack, giving them a 5m scrum, which they promptly powered over the home teams line allowing scrumhalf Johan Steyn to easily dot down at the back for a converted try.

The visitors then took the lead for the first time three minutes later, as the Bulldogs knocked the ball on in their own half, allowing the Eagles to attack through a fractured defence with right wing Adri Jacobs going over to the left of the uprights.

Eksteen continued his perfect night with the boot, making it four from four to put the Eagles 24-17 up, which they held onto despite a desperate late charge from the home side.

Point Scorers

Border Bulldogs: Tries: Somila Jho, Siphosenkosi Nofemele. Conversions: Aphiwe Stemele, Xolela Payi. Penalty: Aphiwe Stemele

SWD Eagles: Tries: Marlou van Niekerk, Johan Steyn, Adri Jacobs. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (3). Penalty: Leighton Eksteen

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