Eagles see off Sharks fight back
CRAVEN WEEK REPORT: The SWD Eagles recorded their second victory of the 2019 Craven Week as they were made to work hard on defence in the second half to claim a 39-31 victory over the Sharks.
Having gone into the half-time break with a fairly comfortable 33-5 lead, the Sharks hit back to get themselves within eight points with seven minutes remaining, however, the Eagles’ breakdown defence was outstanding to keep their noses ahead.
SWD made the perfect start as they built up a 14-0 lead after four minutes. Corné Rahl stretched his legs to get the scoring going in the opening minute before Blake Morgan added their second in the fourth minute. Alwich van der Linde converted both scores to ensure the lead.
The Sharks finally got their hands on good possession and got themselves on the scoreboard in the eighth minute when Simelela Nkomo dotted down in the corner after a good few phases to reduce the deficit to 5-14. Not too long after, Nkomo turned villain as he was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.
Just as it seemed as though the Eagles would score, Nkomo tackled his opposite number around the neck on his tryline, not only receiving a yellow card, but also a penalty try as the Eagles’ lead stretched to 21-5 after 16 minutes.
The Eagles were flying at this point and summed up the Sharks defensive pattern perfectly as they started to employ the ship ahead which garnered immediate success. Caston Michaels chipped ahead in the 24th minute into open space and his chase came down to the bounce of the ball. It favoured him as he managed to dot the ball down just before the dead ball line.
Then four minutes later, another chip ahead had the Sharks scrambling back. They managed to secure the ball inches from their tryline but the chasing Eagles managed to turn the ball over and scrumhalf Abré Minnie sniped down the blindside to score his side’s fifth try. Van der Linde managed to slot just one of those conversions to ensure a 33-5 lead – which is the way it remained as the teams went into the half-time break.
The Sharks came out firing in the second half to get themselves back in touching distance with two quick scores. Malwande Dlangalala made a strong run in the 45th minute, broke a tackle and went flying over the tryline to score under the uprights. Then Larry Nkonki broke down the line a few minutes later to grab his side’s third try. Jordan Hendrikse added just one conversion to reduce the deficit to 17-33.
SWD kept their noses ahead with a 52nd-minute penalty by Matthew Thorn before the Sharks hit back with another seven-pointer as Anele Nzimande rounded off a flowing team move to score under the uprights. Hendrikse popped over the conversion as the deficit stood at 24-36 after 55 minutes.
Another SWD penalty by Thorn saw the lead edge further ahead to 39-24 but Hendrikse showed why he is such a threat as he set up Ockie Barnard to score. The flyhalf broke the line and got his team on the front foot before offloading to Barnard, who initially kicked the ball ahead before chasing it down and scoring. Hendrikse added the extras to set up a nervy finish with the Sharks trailing 31-39 with seven minutes remaining.
The Sharks kept fighting to claim an unlikely victory but the Eagles’ breakdown defence was solid as they turned over possession and then controlled the ball to see out the match.
For South Western Districts:
Tries: Rahl, Morgan, Penalty try, Michaels, Minnie
Cons: Van der Linde 3
Pens: Thorn 2
Tries: Nkomo, Dlangalala, Nkonki, Nzimande, Barnard
Cons: Hendrikse 3
Yellow card: Simelela Nkomo (Sharks, 16 mins – foul play; high tackle)
South Western Districts: 1 Malcolm Joseph, 2 Leon Volschenk, 3 Neil Francis, 4 Francois du Plessis, 5 Corné Rahl, 6 Francois Breytenbach, 7 Vernon Paulo, 8 Bennet Nortjé (captain), 9 Zano-Lee Jonkers, 10 Chadley Josias, 11 Timo Singe, 12 Tinsley Stuurman, 13 Alwich van der Linde, 14 Ashaldo Kiewiet, 15 Matthew Thorn, 16 Leonardo Coetzee, 17 Zander Bezuidenhout, 18 Rowan Jumat, 19 Blake Morgan, 20 S van Dyk, 21 Abré Minnie, 22 Hendrik Victor, 23 Caston Michaels.
Sharks: 1 Teague Loelly, 2 Okuhle Siyeni, 3 Blaine Golden, 4 Wandile Hlophe, 5 Ockie Barnard, 6 Malwande Dlangalala, 7 Sasko Ndlovu (captain), 8 Ranger Mfakadolo, 9 Nico Steyn, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 11 Larry Nkonki, 12 Mambo Mkhize, 13 Latica Nela, 14 Derick Marshall, 15 Ntokozo Makhaza, 16 Danie van Huizen, 17 Ryan Francis, 18 Vernon Matongo, 19 Siya Ningiza, 20 Massimo Fierro, 21 Anele Nzimande, 22 Ruan Wilmans, 23 Simelela Nkomo.
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, Talent Gandiwa
TMO: Paul Larter (Scotland)