Welkom - A good rally by the Leopards XV in the second half lead to a good victory of 35-15 over the Griffons in a Vodacom Cup match at the North West stadium in Welkom on Friday evening.
The visitors from Potchefstroom showed good attacking prowess in the second 40 minutes, scoring five converted tries for their third victory of the competition thus far. Having already beaten the Valke and Limpopo Blue Bulls, the Leopard may well progress to the knock out stages if they can manage an upset or two the next couple of weeks.
The Griffons defended well in the first couple of minutes and early attacks by the Leopards led to nothing. But the hosts have struggled with their defensive structures in the competition and the Leopards in the end managed to breach them effectively.
Leopards lock Stairs Mhlongo was the first amongst the points, scoring in the 17th minute after the visitors piled on the pressure. Fly half Gerhard Nortier, who kicked well, converted to give the Leopards an early lead of 7-0.
The Griffons are a bogey side at their home ground and hooker and captain AJ le Roux scored shortly thereafter for the hosts to give the Leopards food for thought. Young flyhalf Franna du Toit kicked the conversion to level the scores and also kicked a penalty a couple of minutes later to give the Griffons the lead.
But the Leopards were the better side and went into half time with a lead of 14-10 after centre George Tossel scored ten minutes from the break and Nortier did the rest with his kicking boot to set up what was to be an entertaining second half.
The Leopards looked to close the game as early as the 42nd minute with full back Malan van der Merwe scoring after a lapse in concentration by the Griffons. Nortier converted, leaving the Griffons with a deficit of 11 points to make up for.
But the momentum was with the Leopards with flanker Armandt Liebenberg scoring the bonus point try shortly thereafter, with Nortier again on song. The Griffons fought back via a try by centre Japie Nel, but another five pointer by winger Rowayne Beukman and conversion by Tossel sealed the game for the visitors.
Points scorers: Leopards XV 35 (14): Tries: Stairs Mhlongo, George Tossel, Malan van der Merwe, Armandt Liebenberg, Rowayne Beukman. Conversions: Gerhard Nortier (4), George Tossel.
Griffons 15 (10): Tries: AJ le Roux, Japie Nel. Conversion:
Franna du Toit. Penalty: Franna du Toit.