East London - The Border Bulldogs remain winless after four Currie Cup qualifying matches, losing Friday to South Western Districts 33-31.
Despite leading 23-14 at half-time, the Bulldogs relinquished their lead towards the final whistle.
The game ended in a nailbiting finish when fullback Masixole Banda missed a conversion which would have left the game a draw.
Towards the middle of the first half, two runaway tries ensured 14 easy points to Border, and gave them a 20-7 lead after Banda had succeeded with two penalties, one in the second minute, and Eagles skipper Roy Godfrey had scored a try after eight minutes, converted by fullback Elric Vuuren.
Centre Lundi Ralarala and Banda scored for the Bulldogs, both converted by the number 15.
On the stroke of half-time, SWD flank Shaun Raubenheimer managed to breach the Border defence, with Van Vuuren succeeding again with the kick.
Banda tried a drop goal early in the second half which just slipped past the left upright, but moments later he succeeded with his third penalty from the 22-metre line after the Eagles were offside.
Thereafter the Eagles clicked into top gear and ran in three tries – two converted - with only another penalty to Banda in reply. The tries went to scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly and replacements Kurt Haupt and Daniel Roberts.
With time running out and the score 33-26 to the Eagles, Border wing Lindani Ndlela broke away and streaked down the left side to score in the corner but Banda pushed the conversion wide and the hooter sounded moments later.
Border Bulldogs: 31 - Tries: Lundi Ralarala, Masixole Banda, Lindani Ndlela; Penalties: Banda (4); Conversions: Banda (2).
SWD Eagles: 33 - Tries: Roy Godfrey, Shaun Raubenheimer, Dwayne Kelly, Kurt Haupt, Daniel Roberts; Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (4)