GWK Griquas pulled off something of an upset as they clinched a bonus-point 32-26 (halftime 19-7) win over the Leopards XV on Saturday in Kimberley to keep them in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot.
Griquas moved into fourth spot and can retain that position with a bonus-point victory over the Valke next weekend. The Leopards, who dropped down to third on the standings in the North Section, will be concerned about their game as they lacked inspiration and seldom succeeded in getting out of first gear.
The score flattered the Leopards as they were playing catch up from the start. Earlier, the first half struggled to get the crowd on its feet. Although it produced four tries, they were rather isolated pieces of play in a slightly laboured opening stanza. Griquas eventually got on the scoreboard, as a try for flanker Marnus Schoeman capped off a decent lineout drive. It was Schoeman’s eighth try of the competition - the most by any player.
The Leopards then twice had the opportunity to reduce the gap, but strangely former Springbok flyhalf André Pretorius missed both rather easy penalty attempts.
A neat pass by centre Jean Stemmet then found right-winger Luzuko Vulindlu in the smallest of spaces, and the two combined well with Stemmet finishing off for his team’s second.
Pretorius made amends for his two errors earlier on when he took the initiative on attack and scored his side’s first try. But Griquas responded immediately with individual brilliance from scrumhalf Jacques Coetzee earning him a try under the poles, and his team a precious 12-point lead at halftime.
Centre Hennie Skorbinski dotted down shortly after the restart, but a penalty from flyhalf Pieter-Steyn de Wet took Griquas out to a more comfortable eight-point advantage.
The bonus-point try that followed shortly after from Leon Karemaker in the 60th minute then took the home side out of sight, and, despite a converted try in the final seconds by Robert Kruger to earn the Leopards two bonus points, Griquas were left to savour a well-deserved victory.
GWK GRIQUAS: Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Jean Stemmet, Jacques Coetzee, Leon Karemaker. Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3). Penalty: Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Drop goal: Pieter-Steyn de Wet.
LEOPARDS XV: Tries: André Pretorius, Hennie Skorbinski, MB Lusaseni, Robert Kruger. Conversions: André Pretorius (3).