The Leopards XV beat the Down Touch Griffons 35-15 in their Vodacom Cup encounter at the North West Stadium in Welkom on Friday evening.
The visitors from Potchefstroom really came alight in the second half after some good resistance by the hosts in the first 40 minutes. The Leopards only managed a lead of 14-10 at halftime, but some inventive play in the second stanza secured the win for the visitors.
The hosts defended well in the first couple of minutes and early attacks by the Leopards came to nothing. But the Griffons have leaked many tries thus far this season and their defensive structures were breached as early as the 17th minute.
Big lock Stairs Mhlongo scored the first try of the evening after some good pressure by the visitors, with flyhalf Gerhard Nortier adding the conversion with the boot to put his side up on the scoreboard by 7-0.
Even though their defensive structures are sometimes left wanting, the Griffons are good on the attack and it was proven when the hosts scored shortly thereafter via captain and flanker AJ le Roux.
Young flyhalf Franna du Toit kicked the conversion to level the scores and also kicked a penalty a couple of minutes later to give the Griffons the lead.
The Leopards had the final say in the first half via centre George Tossel. The latter scored his try after the visitors again built on the phases and Nortier converted to make the halftime score 14-10 in favour of the Leopards.
The Leopards picked up the second half where they left off the first and fullback Malan van der Merwe went over in the 42nd minute after a lapse in concentration by the Griffons. Nortier converted, leaving the Griffons with a deficit of 11 points.
But the Leopards were on fire and flanker Armandt Liebenberg scored the bonus-point try shortly thereafter, with Nortier again on song with the kicking boot.
The Griffons fought back via a try by centre Japie Nel, but another five pointer by winger Rowayne Beukman and conversion by Tossel sealed the Griffons' fate.
DOWN TOUCH GRIFFONS 15 (10): Tries: AJ le Roux, Japie Nel. Conversion: Franna du Toit. Penalty: Franna du Toit.
LEOPARDS XV 35 (14): Tries: Stairs Mhlongo, George Tossel, Malan van der Merwe, Armandt Liebenberg, Rowayne Beukman. Conversions: Gerhard Nortier (4), George Tossel.