Jaco van der Walt added 11 points as the Golden Lions defeated the Griffons 36-20 in Welkom on Friday, while the EP Kings and Leopards XV also won.
The visitors entered the match second on the Vodacom Cup North Section log – behind the Blue Bulls – but ran in six tries to clinch a bonus-point victory to secure a home quarter-final next weekend.
A try by fullback Ashlon Davids combined with a brace from eighthman Jano Venter and two Van der Walt conversions, put the Lions 19-0 up in the first quarter. But the Griffons showed great resolve late in the first half to cut the deficit to nine at the break, when No 8 Nicky Steyn and wing Vuyo Mboto scored unconverted efforts.
The Lions began the second stanza in similar fashion to the first, when Van der Walt and Stokkies Hanekom burrowed over the tryline, but their efforts were cancelled out when Griffons' duo Tertius Maarman and Norman Nelson scored in quick succession.
However, any chance of a proper Griffons comeback was squashed when Lions reserve flank Ruan Ackermann grabbed their sixth try to wrap up the result.
Elsewhere, the Sharks XV failed to qualify for the play-offs as they slumped to a 23-8 defeat against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth. The loss was the Sharks’ fifth in seven matches and while EP didn’t reach the knockouts either, they finished above them in the South Section standings.
While in Windhoek, the Leopards XV held off the spirited Namibia Welwitschias to claim a 33-25 win, and kept their play-off hopes alive.
Golden Lions (36) – Tries: Jano Venter (2), Ashlon Davids, Jaco van der Walt, Ruan Ackermann, Stokkies Hanekom. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (3).
Griffons (20) – Tries: Norman Nelson, Tertius Maarman, Vuyo Mboto, Nicky Steyn.
EP Kings (23) – Tries: Luther Obi, Paul Schoeman, Enrico Acker. Conversion: Scott van Breda. Penalties: Van Breda, Hansie Graaff.
Sharks XV (8) – Try: Hanco Venter. Penalty: Garth April.
Namibia Welwitschias (25) – Tries: Shaun Kaizemi (2), Nico Esterhuyse, Russell van Wyk. Conversion: Kaizemi. Penalty: Kaizemi.
Leopards XV (33) – Tries: Henro-Pierre Swart, Kobus du Plessis, Stephan Bezuidenhout, Jaco Jordaan, Dane van der Westhuyzen. Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (4).
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images