Falcons soar over WildebeestSun, 21 May 2006 12:05 AM
The Falcons pulled off somewhat of a surprise when they beat the fancied Wildebeest 25-17 to claim the Vodacom Cup trophy in Brakpan on Saturday.
Playing in front of a vocal home-crowd, the under-rated Falcons players lifted their game to outplay a lacklustre Wildebeest.
The Natalians looked jaded after a long season, and the injection of Springboks Brent Russell and Solly Tyibilika didn't seem to help their cause.
They showed very little of what has been their trademark attacking ingenuity as the more meticulous Falcons capitalised on their errors.
The men from the East Rand scored four superb tries, two in the first half and another two in the second half.
The Falcons seemed the more ambitious side from the outset, and it took only 10 minutes before they registered their first points.
Flyhalf Louis Strydom, who marshalled his troops superbly, broke through the Wildebeest defence in their 22-metre area and beat two tackles before finding lock Nico Luus, who with an outstretched arm offloaded to try-scorer Brendon April.
The Falcons scored again on the half-hour mark. Falcons fullback Jan Cloete fielded Russell's missed touch kick, then with the ball brought back into the middle of the field, the hosts drove concertedly towards the Wildebeest tryline. A succession of drives close to the ruck saw flank Jacques Nieuwenhuis crash over and the Falcons led 10-0.
The Wildebeest scored their first points when Russell ran a superb angle off the shoulder of lock Alistair Hargreaves for a try under the posts.
In the Natalians' best period of the game, wing Brett Hennessy scored their second after scrumhalf Scott Mathie nipped around the ruck and beat four porous tackles before finding Hennessy.
Wildebeest flyhalf Scott Spedding kicked both conversions while Strydom missed both, and the Natalians went into the break 14-10 up.
The Falcons came out firing in the second half as hooker Deon Strydom scored to finish off a dynamic surge from the hosts. Cloete added their fourth try, and the Falcons moved out to a 22-14 lead.
Spedding edged the Wildebeest closer with a penalty. But a brilliant long-range drop-goal from Falcons wing Riaan Viljoen near the end of the match moved the lead to eight points.
The Wildeebeest did their best in the last five minutes, but the Falcons held on for a famous victory.