Falcons flying high

The Falcons retained their place at the top of the Vodacom Cup log with a 34-31 victory over the Wildebeest in their top of the table clash in Brakpan on Saturday. Michael Vlismas reports.

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 John Williams’ Falcons team has shown a steely resolve this season, and they took all five points on offer to top the log on 24 points from six games. The Wildebeest are tied second with the Vodacom Blue Bulls on 20 points but with a game in hand while the Bulls have also played six.

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 thanks to a try from wing John Mametsa and two penalties and a conversion from flyhalf Len Olivier. Mametsa claimed his second try after the interval, while hooker Chillyboy Ralepelle and lock Adrian Fondse scored the other tries. Olivier also added to his tally with a conversion.

In Despatch, the Boland Cavaliers beat the Mighty Elephants 31-16 in the first of three Vodacom Cup community games this season, which include a series of coaching clinics in the build-up to match day as part of the process of developing rugby outside of the major centres. Alvin Hugo was the hero for the wine farmers with two tries, while Sebastien Hilpert, Ossie Damons and Charl Blom scored the other tries. Fullback Justin Peach, who scored 36 points last week, added three conversions for the visitors.

Noel de Villiers scored the Elephants’ only try, while Michael Gallinetti kicked three penalties and a conversion. The Cavaliers have now moved to mid-table with the Elephants falling closer to the lower regions of the log.

Scores:

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)