Free State XV outlast Leopards

The Free State XV beat the Leopards 23-14 in Bloemfontein, while there were also Currie Cup Qualifier wins for the Blue Bulls and Boland.

The Leopards led 11-10 at the break, but the hosts pulled away in the second half to hand the visitors their fifth defeat of the campaign.

Leopards fullback Rhyno Smith opened the scoring with a penalty goal, before Free State XV flank Refuoe Rampeta crossed for a converted try.

Wing Jaco Hayward went over for the Leopards' only try of the match, with Smith then slotting a second penalty. A penalty by Free State XV flyhalf Niel Marais reduced the deficit to one at half-time. 

Marais put the home side back in front with a 54th-minute penalty, before lock and captain Reniel Hugo crossed for another converted try.

While the Free State XV continued to dominate, Smith brought the visitors back to within six points with his third penalty. But a late penalty from scrumhalf JP Smith put the game beyond the Leopards.

Elsewhere on Friday, flyhalf Tony Jantjies scored 22 points as the Blue Bulls thumped the Valke 42-15 in Pretoria.

On Thursday, hooker Chadley Wenn scored a brace of tries as the Boland Cavaliers beat the Border Bulldogs 38-17 in East London.

Free State XV (23) – Tries: Refuoe Rampeta, Reniel Hugo. Conversions: Niel Marais (2). Penalties: Marais (2), JP Smith.
Leopards (14) – Try: Jaco Hayward. Penalties: Rhyno Smith (3).

Blue Bulls (42) – Tries: Tony Jantjies (2), Dan Kriel, André Warner, Mxo Mxoli, Ivan van Zyl. Conversions: Jantjies (6).
Valke (15) – Tries: Coert Cronjé, Andrew van Wyk. Conversion: Karlo Aspeling. Penalty: Aspeling.

Border Bulldogs (17) – Tries: Billy Dutton, penalty try, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversion: Logan Basson.
Boland Cavaliers (38) – Tries: Shaun Adendorff, Ryan Nell, Chadley Wenn (2), Francois Hanekom. Conversions: Nico Scheepers (5). Penalty: Scheepers.

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images