The Ford Pumas secured a home quarter-final as they beat the Leopards 46-10 (half-time 22-3) in their Vodacom Cup North Section match at Puma Stadium in Witbank on Saturday.
The Pumas will play the EP Kings on Friday after they ended the group-stage of the competition in second place in the North Section with 23 points, two behind the log-leading GWK Griquas.
The hosts were full value for their win as flyhalf Coenie van Wyk ran in a hat-trick of tries while flank Jaco Bouwer grabbed a brace of tries. Fullback JC Roos contributed 16 points with his boot courtesy of five conversions and two penalties.
The Leopards began the game with an outside chance of sneaking into the quarter-finals but they had to win by more than 31 points and claim a four-try bonus point however, they were unable to cope with the pace and power of the Pumas.
The Pumas began the match in fine style and they grabbed their first try in the third minute when Bouwer, who featured prominently throughout the match, was on hand to round off a sweeping backline move.
The Leopards replied with a penalty from flyhalf Andre Pretorius but the rest of the half belonged to the hosts.
In the 25th minute Van Wyk scored his first try when he side-stepped his way over from five metres out.
Roos converted the try before adding a penalty five minutes later.
Van Wyk nabbed his second try on the stroke of half-time after a scrum five metres from the Leopards’ tryline. Scrumhalf Shaun Venter broke to his right before off-loading to Van Wyk who crossed untouched for a converted try as the Pumas eased to a 22-3 half-time lead.
The Leopards dominated possession for the first 10 minutes of the second half but it was the Pumas who scored first in the second stanza thanks to a long-range penalty from Roos.
Van Wyk completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute after a powerful run from inside centre Tiaan Marx. Roos was then on hand to make the scoring pass to Van Wyk.
The Leopards were looking out on their feet and Bouwer grabbed a richly deserved second try in the 62nd minute when he slid over from close range.
The Leopards, despite being outgunned, did not give up and they scored a late consolation try through eighthman Juan Pretorius but the Pumas had the final say as replacement back Johan Jackson dotted down on the stroke of full time.
Ford Pumas – Tries: Coenie van Wyk (3), Jaco Bouwer (2), Johan Jackson; Conversions: JC Roos (5); Penalties: Roos (2).
Leopards – Try: Juan Pretorius; Conversion: Gerhard Nortier; Penalty: Andre Pretorius