Wildebeest whacked in weekend of surprises

The Falcons went top of the Vodacom Cup log with a stunning win against the Wildebeest. Michael Vlismas reports.

A 34-31 victory over the Wildebeest in their top of the table clash in Brakpan on Saturday saw John Williams’s side claim all five points on offer to top the log on 24 points from six games. Both teams were tied at the top of the log on 19 points coming in this match, with the Wildebeest the only unbeaten team in the competition and enjoying a superior points difference over their hosts. But the Natalians’ 100 per cent record ended as they succumbed to two early tries by the Falcons that set the home team up for a crucial victory.

The Wildebeest trailed 28-11 at halftime and fought back to outscore the Falcons 20-6 in the second half. But it was not enough to deny the home side a victory.

The Wildebeest ended the weekend tied second on the log with the Vodacom Blue Bulls on 20 points.

The Blue Bulls made their move with a 30-6 victory over the in-form Griffons at the North West Stadium in Welkom on Saturday, claiming their fourth win from six games. The game will be remembered, though, for the massive brawl that broke out with five minutes to go. What began as a scuffle quickly developed into a fistfight, with two players from each side sent off.

The Blue Bulls were in command of the game for its entirety and led 13-6 at halftime, adding another three tries in the second half to seal the win.

In the other game on Saturday, the Eastern Cape town of Despatch was treated to Vodacom Cup rugby with the match between the Boland Cavaliers and the Mighty Elephants capping off a three-day series of coaching clinics to develop rugby outside the country’s main centres. The Cavaliers beat the Elephants 31-16, scoring five tries to one and having trailed 13-12 at halftime.

On Friday night, the Leopards continued to build on their ever-improving form with a 15-14 win over the Lions in Potchefstroom. The North West side moved up to fourth on the table after overhauling a 14-0 deficit at the break.

It was the Lions’ third defeat from five, although they bizarrely moved up one place on the log from 10th to ninth.

Vodacom Western Province continued their resurgence, also coming from behind at halftime to beat the Pumas 15-14 in Witbank. Western Province remain eighth on the log, but two wins on the trot will be encouraging for Stanley Raubenheimer and his team.

The Vodacom Cheetahs claimed a 20-14 victory over the Border Bulldogs, their second win in as many weeks.

Falcons 34 (28)
Tries: Sam Willard, Jurie Coetzee, Sarel Pretorius, Sean Plaatjies. Conversions: Riaan Viljoen (4). Penalties: Viljoen (2).
Wildebeest 31 (11)
Tries: Craig Burden, Ockie Vermeulen, Greg Goosen. Conversions: Scott Spedding (2). Penalties: Spedding (4).

Griffons 6 (6)
Penalties: Andre Hough (2).
Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 (13)
Tries: John Mametsa (2), Chilliboy Ralepelle, Adriaan Fondse. Conversions: Len Olivier (2). Penalties: Olivier (2).

Boland Cavaliers 31 (12)
Tries: Ossie Damons, Alvin Hugo (2), Sebastien Hilpert, Charl Blom. Conversions: Justin Peach (3).
Mighty Elephants 16 (13)
Try: Noel de Villiers. Conversion: Michael Gallinetti. Penalties: Gallinetti (3)

Leopards 15 (0)
Tries: Bertus Swanepoel, Colin Lloyd. Conversion: Anvor Schooney. Penalty: Schooney.
Lions 14 (14)
Tries: John Daniels, Dewey Swartbooi. Conversions: Jody Rose (2).
Pumas 14 (11)
Try: Lourens Dunn. Penalties: Casper Steyn (3).

Vodacom Western Province 15 (3)
Tries: Mpho Mbiyozo, Robbie Diack. Conversion: Sarel Potgieter. Penalty: Potgieter.
Border Bulldogs 14 (0)
Tries: Vuyo Zanqa, Alexander Ndangana. Conversions: Luvoyo Tobezweni, Oliver Fowles.

Vodacom Cheetahs 20 (15)
Tries: Gavin Passens, Daron Nell, Heinrich Brussouw. Conversion: Maxwell Stoffells. Penalty: Stoffells.