Sunday, September 30, 2007

Springboks Outmuscle The Eagles

Everything was going pretty much to form, with the Springboks able to score three converted tries and a penalty, until the 39th minute. Then Todd Clever made a lovely intercept from close to the Eagles' try line - it passed through Alec Parker and Mike Hercus [left] in midfield before finding the explosive legs of Takudzwa Ngwenya wide on the wing. He ran a one-on-one against Bryan Habana - and outstripped Habana convincingly, to cross for a fantastic try. Hercus converted and the scores stood at 24-10 at the break.

In the second half, and still smarting from being outrun earlier, Bryan Habana was the last man in the line as the ball passed through hands, and crossed over for the Springboks in the 42nd minute.

In the 51st minute, the Eagles turned territory into points when Chris Wyles [right] made it over the whitewash in the left corner. Just as play was getting going again, the two wingers Ngwenga and Habana clashed again - this time accidentally crashing heads as they tried to catch a high ball. Lots of blood in evidence, but they were both patched up OK. Once play was restarted, it wasn't long before Springbok Scrum Half Fourie du Preez spotted a gap and dotted down just to the left of the posts.

In the 58th minute, the Eagles made another great break upfield, but when the Springboks infringed, the US chose to kick for the corner for a pushover try. Unfortunately, South Africa stole the lineout and cleared with a massive kick towards the centre line. The Eagles lost the next lineout too, and the Boks gained more ground. South Africa were able to score another four converted tries, two for Centre Jaque Fourie.

Around 68 minutes, the States put another great passage of play together, and worked their way up into the Boks' half, but they botched the scrum and the Boks cleared. The Eagles worked it back up field, from side to side. There was some lovely passing, moving the ball quickly, but couldn't put together another score.

It was a great shame the scoreline ended as it did (64-15) - the Eagles played much better than the scoreboard would suggest. But in the end, the Springboks' class told it's tale, and the boys in green scored nine tries, only one of which they failed to convert.

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