Leopards clinch First Division title

The Leopards claimed a 44-20 come-from-behind win over the SWD Eagles in Potchefstroom.

Having gone undefeated throughout the competition, the Leopards were made to graft in the final and had to erase a 10-point deficit to continue their streak.

The Eagles dominated possession and territory and were full value for their 20-10 lead at the break, but the hosts scored 24 unanswered points in the second stanza.

Converted tries by backs Alshaun Bock and Luzuko Vulindlu, coupled with two penalty goals by fullback Leighton Eksteen saw the visitors race out to a 20-3 lead in under 25 minutes.  

It took a while before the Leopards hit their stride, but when they did, a strong driving maul helped hooker Dane van der Westhuizen crash over to narrow the gap. 

A resurgent Leopards side returned for the second half. They took went into the lead for the first time in the game, after lock Walt Steenkamp and flank Juan Language crossed for two scores in quick succession.

Still reeling from conceding so soon after the resumption, the Eagles' defence was caught napping again with further tries by Marno Redelinghuys and Robert Kruger, which pushed the Leopards out to 34-20.

Despite the momentum shifts, the Leopards opted for the safety of the scoreboard, opting to kick at goal when they were awarded a penalty and Engelbrecht converted. 

There was still time for late try from prop Bart le Roux to cap off a remarkable comeback and an outstanding season.

Leopards – Tries: Dane van der Westhuizen, Walt Steenkamp, Juan Language, Marno Redelinghuys, Robert Kruger, Bart le Roux. Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (4). Penalties: Engelbrecht (2).
SWD Eagles – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Luzuko Vulindlu. Conversions: Leighton Eksteen (2). Penalties: Eksteen (2).

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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