Johannesburg - The Regent Boland Cavaliers secured their first win of the season, as they beat the Free State XV 27-23 in their Vodacom Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors led 14-11 at the break, thanks to two tries by flank, Thor Halvorsen. Replacement back Tythan Adams scored a crucial, late try for the visitors to secure the win on the road, despite Halvorsen being sin-binned two minutes from the final whistle.
Free State XV had made the stronger start in Bloemfontein, with Tewis de Bruyn slotting two early penalties. But, midway through the first-half, Boland’s Halvorsen was bundled over the line for the opening try.
Ricardo Croy, who replaced starting flyhalf Jacquin Jansen as early as the tenth minute due to injury, added the conversion as the visitors took the lead. Croy did miss two penalties to stretch Boland’s lead, with all the kickers struggling to kick at goal in windy conditions.
Halvorsen found more joy from the side of the scrum just before half-time, and Croy duly added the extras.
The Free State XV was then handed a lifeline, as Boland flank Franzel September was sin-binned. In his absence, Free State wing Ludwig Erasmus finished off a fine, flowing move by the Free State backline for the home side’s opening try.
The missed conversion saw the home side trail 11-14 at half-time.
After the break, Croy slotted his first penalty (17-11), but the home side closed the gap to just two points when centre Joubert Engelbrecht sliced through the Boland defence to leave Free State just three points behind.
De Bruyn missed the conversion, but he made up for that mistake as he snuck over for a try of his own, which he then converted to give the home side a four-point lead (21-17). Croy then slotted his second penalty for the visitors, as they trailed by one point.
Replacement back Tythan Adams then scored a fine, running try in the last ten minutes, which was converted by Garth April, who had taken over the kicking duties from Croy. De Bruyn added a late penalty for Free State, as they pushed hard for the win.
Halvorsen was carded in the 78th minute to increase the pressure on the visitors, but Boland hung on to open their win account for the 2013 campaign.
Toyota Free State XV (23): Tries: Tewis de Bruyn, Joubert Engelbrecht, Ludwig Erasmus Conversions: De Bruyn (1) Penalties: De Bruyn (2)
Regent Boland Cavaliers (27): Tries: Thor Halvorsen (2), Tythan Adams Conversions: Ricardo Croy (2), Garth April (1) Penalties: R Croy (2).