Border top dogs in try-fest
The Boland Cavaliers had only themselves to blame after the Border Bulldogs beat them 50-46 (halftime 21-26) in a Currie Cup First Division try-fest at the Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday.
This was Boland’s third loss in a row, two of which were home games. For Border it was the second time in the space of a week that they sealed victory right at the death.
After already having picked up a four-try bonus point by the half-time break, the Cavaliers went into the second half leading by five points. All of their tries were possibly of the best you’ll get to see this season, but then again, after scoring each of those, they let the visitors do exactly the same.
Boland wing Cornal Hendricks scored three tries, but that feat was overshadowed by his teammates’ lack of effort at rucks and mauls, as well as their poor defence.
The home team’s scrums and lineouts were very good, but they got beaten up in loose play, handing Border opportunities to get back into the game after they were trailing 12-3 just 10 minutes into the match.
Had it not been for Boland’s lack of commitment, they could’ve enjoyed a good lead at the break. Fullback Jacquin Jansen had a incredible match, breaking defensive lines from any place on the field. But he often found himself isolated after being tackled.
The same can be said of his flyhalf, Willie le Roux, who has a bit of Quade Cooper in him at times, but then also tosses away good possession in promising situations.
The Cavaliers did however enjoy a few good minutes early in the second half when they stretched their lead to 36-21.
But just like in the first 40 minutes, they never seemed to stay sharp on attack or in defence after scoring. This also led to a lack of structure in their play, which, at times, suited the Border style to a tee. Though one might have expected the Bulldogs to run the ball from wherever, they maintained very good balance between back and forward play.
One man responsible for that interplay was flyhalf Logan Basson, younger brother of Springbok wing Bjorn.
The lesser-known Basson had an incredible afternoon and kept a cool head when his team was behind. He kicked three penalties of close to or more than 50 metres, which kept his side in the game, never letting Boland run away at the scoreboard.
The last 10 minutes was the most tense period of the entire match, with the lead being exchanged four times. After Lionel Cornelius, Boland’s replacement flyhalf, scored with three minutes on the clock, Boland found themselves leading 46-43.
But just as in similar situations earlier in the match, Border launched a cool-headed attack from just outside their own 22, eventually resulting in hooker Matthew Geldenhuys breaking through a few tackles to score the winning try.
For Boland, a lot of hard work, not to mention words, lies ahead before they play the Griffons in Welkom on Friday. As for the Bulldogs, they are becoming all the more deserving of their name.
Border Bulldogs 50 – Tries: Ross Doneghan, Ben Venter, Bonga Mntunjani, Logan Basson, Luvuyo Mhlobiso, Matthew Taljard. Conversions: Jeffrey Taljard, Basson (3). Penalties: Taljard, Basson (3).
Boland Cavaliers 46 – Tries: Franzel September, Cornal Hendricks (3), Jeremy Plaatjies, Lionel Cornelius. Conversions: Jacquin Jansen (4), Cornelius. Penalties: Cornelius (2).