SWD Turn It Around in the Second Half
South Western Districts went into this match as firm favourites which seemed a silly idea in the early part of the match when, after 13 minutes, the Pumas were leading 12-0, and in fact the first half ended with Pumas leading.
There was a change in the second half when South Western Districts brought on some bigger guns, notably the halfbacks Hendrik Victor and Abré Minnie, and the speedy Castin Michaels, an athlete of national quality. Then the game changed, and from being 15-12 down, the Eagles ended winning a handsome 43-22.
In fact the second half was generally much more creative in cold Bloemfontein with its bits of drizzle, cold, and mean wind.
It was a match of much refereeing – 13 penalties in the first half, a yellow card and a TMO intervention to cancel out a try for a forward pass 50 metres back.
In the early part of the match, the South Western Districts Eagles looked set for a crash as they fumbled about from error to error while the Pumas looked much more enthusiastic. For one thing the Mpumalanga side’s handling was much better.
South Western Districts pushed the Pumas back in a scrum and the Pumas scored. The ball was running awry when flyhalf Martin Venter snapped it up and drove himself over for a try at the posts. Walker Visser converted and South Western Districts’ Leonardo Coetzee went off to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.
Ndumiso Dladla had a powerful run and then strong Xavier Fourie was close. From a scrum on their right, the Pumas went wide left and on an overlap Tristan Juries swept over for a try. 12-0.
When the yellow card had expired, South Western Districts started to attack. They tapped a penalty and lost the ball. Undismayed they tapped again and strong flank Vernon Paulo scored. 12-17.
Walker Visser kicked a penalty for the Pumas and then came a startling try.
Ashaldo Kiewiet, normally a fullback but playing wing, gathered a kick and counterattacked. He raced some 40 metres down the right wing, swerving past two despairing tacklers to score. 15-12.
Kiewiet was over again just before half time after a wonderful, sweeping attack by South Western Districts but the TMO found a forward pass.
It took South Western Districts just four minutes to get the lead in the second half. The Eagles attacked from inside their own half and that man Kiewiet raced in for the try. The rearranged Eagles went soaring into a 19-15 lead which was taken to 31-15 with two more trieses, before the Pumas scored a dramatic try.
The Eagles were attacking but suddenly Cyle Visagie intercepted and ran 65 empty metres straight to the goal posts. That made it 31-22 with 11 minutes to play, but there was no new dawn for the province of the rising sun.
Victor was clever, Francois Breytenbach strong and hooker Leon Volschenk over for a try and interplay over half the field ended with a second try to Michaels, awarded after a TMO check.
For South Western Districts:
Tries: Vernon Paulo, Ashaldo Kiewiet 2, Corné Rahl, Leon Volschenk, C Michaels 2
Cons: Alwich van der Linde 4
Tries: Martin Venter, Tristan Juries, Cyle Visagie
Cons: Walker Visser 2
Pen: Walker Visser
Pumas: 15 Bobby Madonsela, 14 Ndumiso Dladla, 13 Walker Visser, 12 Christiaan Vlok, 11 Tristan Juries, 10 Martin Venter, 9 Niel Henning, 8 Frans Stander, 7 Xavier Fourie, 6 Michelson Mkwanzi, 5 Jackson Madiba, 4 Grant van Leeuwen, 3 Marthinus Oosthuizen, 2 Chyle van Zyl, 1 Sipho Nzotho
Replacements: 16 Edwin Till, 17 Musa Nkozi, 18 Eduan Roux, 19 Stirling Jaarse, 20 Zweli Mokoena, 21 Sanele Zungu, 22 Khyle Visagie, 23 Lunga Makainge
South Western Districts: 15 Matthew Thorn, 14 Ashaldo Kiewiet, 13 Alwich van der Linde, 12 Tinsley Stuurman, 11 Timo Singe, 10 Chadley Josias, 9 Zano-Lee Jonkers, 8 Bennet Nortjé (captain), 7 Vernon Paulo, 6 Francois Breytenbach, 5 Corné Rahl, 4 F du Plessis, 3 Neil Francis, 2 Leon Volschenk, 1 Malcolm Joseph
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Coetzee, 17 Zander Bezuidenhout, 18 Rowan Jumat, 19 Blake Morgan, 20 S van Dyk, 21 Abré Minnie, 22 Hendrik Victor, 23 Castin Michaels
Referee: Phumzile Mbewu
Assistant referees: Divan Uys, Dirkie Laas
Television match official: Lourens van der Merwe