So close for Swallows, Old Boys: Home teams edged by visitors in thrilling weekend encounters
Swallows will be kicking themselves for running out of steam in the last 15 minutes as they allowed Progress George to return from the brink to steal a breathtaking 35-32 win at BCM Stadium.
Swallows had until that point looked well on course to all but confirm their place in the quarterfinals, after scorching into a commanding 32-14 lead thanks to two tries from fullback Cameron Lentoor, who added two conversions and a penalty for a personal tally of 17 points, and further tries to wings Siyasanga Pati and Thembela Phelani, and centre Somila Mantyoyi.
However, three converted tries from the visitors then shocked the hosts, with players from both teams dropping to the field from exhaustion, with a mixture of elation and despair at the final whistle.
Old Boys will be heartbroken after suffering their second one-point loss of the competition, going down 26-25 to Progress Uitenhage at Mike Pendock Motors Park.
Old Boys lost 25-24 against Swallows in their first game of the competition, so they were desperate to get a win to boost their campaign.
However, this loss now puts qualification for the quarterfinals out of their hands, and they will have to rely on other results going their way. They will also need to win their next two games to stand any chance of making the cut.
In their game it was a tight first half, with the hosts leading 8-6 at the break, thanks to a try from fullback Andisa Gqobo and a penalty from scrumhalf Craig Shone.
The second half was then a back and forth affair, with Progress hitting the lead early, before Old Boys came back with two tries of their own, one converted, to go 20-11 up. But Progress responded with a penalty and two tries, one converted, to lead 26-20.
In the dying minutes Shone scored in the corner, but the conversion attempt failed.
The results mean that Swallows still lead pool C on 11 points, while Old Boys stay bottom on four.
Swallows will face a very tough task against Tygerberg in Cape Town this coming weekend. A win would all but guarantee their progress to the quarterfinals.
Old Boys also face a difficult match, away against Progress George, and for them it will be the last chance saloon. They will need to win, preferably with a bonus point, to stand any chance of making the knockouts.