Elephants go down to Cavaliers in hard-fought match

EP Elephants coach Ryan Felix
EP Elephants coach Ryan Felix
Image: Brian Witbooi

EP’S Elephants came tantalisingly close to pulling off their first win of the season before they were eventually edged 40-37 by the Boland Cavaliers in Montagu on Saturday.

It was a see-saw affair with the Cavaliers emerging with the spoils after a late surge in an action-packed SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash.

After their narrow 22-17 defeat against the Border Bulldogs in their previous game, it proved to be another frustrating afternoon for coach Ryan Felix and his young Elephants team.

The Cavaliers held a slender 26-20 lead at half time, in a match which produced 10 sparkling tries and kept the crowd entertained throughout.

After four matches, the Elephants are stuck at the bottom of the South Section log, just one point behind archrivals the Border Bulldogs.

EP will be hoping for more success in the second half of the season as they bid to lift themselves off the foot of the table.

There were 17 points for Elephants flyhalf Ruben de Vos, who kicked three penalties and four conversions to keep his team within touching distance of the Cavaliers.

Ahead of the match Felix had urged his charges to show more killer instinct in the goal zone and they responded with four tries against the Cavaliers, from Xandre Vos, Johan van Wyk, Bakkies Brown and Zingisa April.

EP’s campaign has been severely hampered by a late start to their preseason training programme.

The Elephants are fielding an inexperienced team of mainly club players in the competition.

The average age of the EP team is about 23 and Felix says he is building for the future.

On Saturday, the Elephants will host defending champions Western Province in their fifth outing of the season.
The scorers: Boland Cavaliers 40: Tries: Valentino Wellman (2), Rinus Bothma, Kenan Cronje, Rayno Benjamin, Charles Mayeza. Conversions: Elgar Watts (4), Adriaan Carelse. EP Elephants 37: Tries: Xandre Vos, Johan van Wyk, Bakkies Brown, Zingisa April. Conversions: Ruben de Vos (4). Penalties: De Vos (3). ý In another SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash, a Free State XV beat the Sharks 12-10 in Bloemfontein.

The players were greeted by perfect conditions in the heart of South Africa, yet the lack of points in the match was the evening’s theme.

Free State struck early as inside centre Tertius Kruger dotted down in the second minute but it would take the home team another 34 minutes to score their second try, courtesy of hooker Reinach Venter.

Flyhalf Ernest Stapelberg converted Venter’s efforts to give the men from Bloemfontein a 12-0 lead at the break.

The second half belonged to the visitors as No 8 Tera Mtembu crossed the whitewash to score a converted try in the 60th minute.

Flyhalf Danrich Visagie nailed a penalty goal with eight minutes left on the clock but Free State held out to claim a hard-fought win.

The Free State XV remain on top of the Central Section log with 19 points, seven points clear of the second-placed Griquas.

Scorers: Free State XV 12: Tries: Tertius Kruger, Reinach Venter. Conversion: Ernest Stapelberg. Sharks XV 10: Try: Tera Mtembu; Conversion: Danrich Visagie; Penalty: Visagie.