Two tries from Danie Dames helped the Leopards XV to a 27-7 (halftime 6-0) win over the Down Touch Griffons in their lightning-affected Vodacom Cup match at Profet Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday.
Play was suspended 33 minutes into the first half, as an electrical storm forced the players from the field with the Leopards leading 3-0.
The home crowd had to wait nearly 30 minutes for the players to return, but saw a marked improvement from their team as three second-half tries secured a comfortable win for their team.
The win sees the Leopards move to within two points of the table-topping Steval Pumas in the Northern Section, while the Griffons slip to sixth.
The Griffons set up camp in their opponents’ half in the early stages, and a TMO review in the sixth minute yielded a penalty after a shoulder barge by Leopards winger Edmar Marais. However, flyhalf Hansie Graaff’s ensuing kick was away to the left, and he missed another penalty six minutes later after some more ill-discipline from the hosts.
Andre Pretorius was then guilty of missing his mark in the windless, albeit wet, conditions, as his 15th-minute attempt at goal was wayward.
As the rain intensified in Potchefstroom, the level of errors escalated, and the disjointed affair had to wait until the 30th minute to have its deadlock broken when Pretorius slotted a penalty from in front of the posts.
The first half was marred by late tackles and infringements, and the referee lost patience in the 32nd minute as Griffons loosehead Rudi Britz was sent to the sin-bin for a decidedly late hit.
The teams left the field immediately after, as the threat of lightning made play unsafe.
Play resumed after a delay of nearly 30 minutes, and the Leopards number 10 was on hand to extend his team’s lead with a second penalty in the 36th minute. The 6-0 advantage was one the home side took into halftime, as Graaff missed his third penalty of the evening in the final seconds of the opening stanza.
The somewhat dour contest burst into life as right-winger Dames capitilised on an overlap in the 49th minute, and re-gathered his chip kick to dot over the line. Pretorius made no mistake with the conversion, and his team enjoyed a handy 13-0 lead at that point.
It took just eight minutes for Dames to grab his brace, as the Leopards backline once again worked an overlap after sustained pressure, and the speedster scored under the posts.
Eighth-man Morne Hanekom compounded the misery for the visitors in the 76th minute, and despite flanker Robert Kruger’s late yellow card and Aubrey McDonald’s score with the last movement of the game, the Leopards were left celebrating a convincing win.
LEOPARDS XV – Tries: Danie Dames (2), Morne Hanekom; Conversions: Andre Pretorius (3); Penalties: Andre Pretorius (2)
DOWN TOUCH GRIFFONS – Try: Aubrey McDonald; Conversion: Inus Kritzinger