Leopards close in on Griquas

The Leopards erased a 10-point deficit to beat the Griffons 24-20, while there were wins for Boland and SWD in round five of the 2015 Currie Cup qualifiers.

The Griffons conceded an early try, but came back strongly with two converted tries through fullback Tertuis Maarman and left wing Vuyo Mbotho. Outside centre Tyler Fisher crossed for the Leopards' second unconverted five-pointer to cut the deficit to four, but a penalty by flyhalf Louis Strydom saw the Griffons take a surprising 17-10 lead into the break.

Strydom kicked another penalty after the restart, as the Leopards found themselves 20-10 down nine minutes into the second half. But they scored two converted tries to overhaul the gallant Griffons. Scrumhalf Henco Venter started the visitors' comeback with a well-worked try, before fullback Damian Engledoe ran in the Leopards' fourth try to seal deserved bonus-point victory to move within a point of log leaders Griquas.

Meanwhile, Boland also came from behind to defeat the Valke 29-16 in Wellington. The Valke dominated possession and territory, which allowed fullback Jaun Kotzé to slot three penalty goals. Boland flyhalf Adriaan Carelse succeeded with a drop-goal attempt as the hosts trailed 9-3 at the halfway mark.

Both sides added a converted try to their respective tallies soon after the restart, but Boland pulled away in the final 10 minutes. Eric Zana and Danwel Demas scored in quick succession as Boland edged into the lead again. The Kavaliers then pushed hard for a bonus-point try and it came through Zana, who side-stepped two defenders to dot down for his second to wrap up Boland's second victory in five matches.

And in George, the SWD Eagles claimed their first win of the season with a narrow 19-13 victory over the Border Bulldogs. The visitors opened up the scoring with a Logan Basson penalty, but SWD raced to a 14-3 advantage at the interval courtesy of tries by inside centre Martin du Toit and fullback Leighton Eksteen. 

Border narrowed the gap to eight points with Basson’s second penalty early in the second half, but the Eagles made sure of the win when flank Christo du Plessis crashed over for an unconverted try. Replacement hooker Ludwe Booi went over for a late try, which handed Border a losing bonus point.

Griffons (20) – Tries: Tertius Maarman, Vuyo Mbotho. Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (2)
Leopards (24) – Tries: Tyler Fisher, Adrian Vermeulen, Damian Engledoe, Hanco Venter. Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (2).

Boland Kavaliers (29) – Tries: Eric Zana (2), Adriaan Carelse, Danwel Demas. Conversions: Zana (3). Drop goal: Carelse.
Valke (16) – Try: Marlyn Williams. Conversion: Juan Kotzé. Penalties: Kotzé (3).

SWD Eagles (19) – Tries: Martin du Toit, Leighton Eksteen, Christo du Plessis. Conversions: Gerrit Smith (2).
Border Bulldogs (13) – Try: Ludwe Booi. Conversion: Logan Basson. Penalties: Basson (2).

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

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