Veteran winger John Daniels scored a hat-trick of tries as the Boland Cavaliers rallied from behind to get their Absa Currie Cup campaign off to a winning start by beating the Valke 48-42 (halftime 17-36) in an entertaining game at Bosman Stadium on Friday.
In an almost carbon copy of the corresponding fixture from last year’s calendar, where the Cavaliers also came from behind to snatch victory with a 39-33 score line, Daniels extended his career record for most tries scored in the competition to 77.
During the first half, Valke coach Rudi Joubert would have been thinking that his work was starting to bear positive results as his charges played with fluency and clinical execution.
From the get go, the host’s forwards dominated up front, decimating the Boland scrum and lineouts and admirably asserting themselves in the contact situations.
The result was a glutton of territorial advantage as well as an assortment of multi-phased passages of play, punctuated with fluency and quick recycling which culminated in opposition defence being sucked in and the Valke backs having a field day out wide.
The men from the East Rand scored regularly in the first spell with stalwart eigthman Sean Plaatjies opening the try account in the seventh minute.
The pattern and game plan seemed to have come together and winger Luvo Sogidashe (twice), scrum-half Gerrie Odendaal and centre Rouan Cloete all crossed the line for the Valke to go into the break having already secured the four-try bonus point and a seemingly unassailable 36-17 lead.
On the other hand, the visitors had stuttered to two tries by Daniels and scrum-half Marnus Hugo while fulback Justin Peach converted both tries and added a penalty, and it seemed a routing was on the cards
It was to be a game of two distinct halves however. The home team took the foot completely off the pedal and lost their discipline whilst the men from the Cape turned the tables, upping the ante and running with intent.
Boland went on a four try rampage with Daniels bagging his other two tries, while Peach and hooker and captain Conrad Burke (who intercepted in the last minute to clinch the victory) also crossed the line in the second stanza.
The Valke only managed two penalties by Smit in reply
Joubert would have gone to bed with a deja vu feeling and hoping that this season will not be a repeat of last year’s disastrous campaign that saw the Valke loose all 14 of their games in the competition.
Valke – Tries : Sean Plaatjies, Luvo Sogidashe (2), Gerrie Odendaal, Rouan Cloete
Conversions: Riaan Smit (4)
Penalties: Riaan Smit (3),
Boland Caveliers – Tries : Justin Peach, John Daniels (3), Conrad Burke, Marnus Hugo.
Conversions: Justin Peach (6)
Penalties: Justin Peach (2)