Veteran former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius turned back the clock with a polished performance to steer the Leopards to a comfortable Vodacom Cup win over the Valke in Potchefstroom on Friday.
Pretorius landed six conversions for a personal haul of 12 points as the home team scored seven tries to earn five points from the match and temporarily move to top of the northern section standings on 10 points.
Last week the Leopards thrashed the Limpopo Blue Bulls 110-3 and against the Valke they simply picked up where they had left off six days earlier.
The home team had scored three tries after only 11 minutes and with more than an hour to play the result was already beyond doubt.
The Valke were a fumbling mess and were strangely subdued a week after they had thrashed the Golden Lions 27-22 in Brakpan.
Pretorius, who played the last of his 31 test matches nearly six years ago, calmly dictated matters with great tactical awareness behind a dominant pack.
The 34-year-old has lost pace and may never grace a higher stage again, but at this level he showed that class is permanent, even when measured against the ravages of time and an injury list that would fill its own casualty ward.
Scrumhalf Jacques Olivier slipped over for the Leopards’ first try in the fifth minute and No 8 Morné Hanekom completed the second only three minutes later. When fullback Danie Demas crossed for the Leopards’ third try in the 11th minute the small home crowd could scarcely believe what they were watching.
The Valke briefly fought back with a penalty by flyhalf Wesley Roberts and a try by No 8 Friedle Olivier to narrow the deficit to nine points as the match reached the quarter mark.
But from then on the Leopards used their forward dominance to subdue the Valke and add another four tries to secure the five points.
LEOPARDS – Tries: BG Uys, Danie Damas, Edmar Marais, Jacques Olivier, Morné Hanekom (2), Akker van der Merwe. Conversions: Andre Pretorius (6).
VALKE – Try: Friedle Olivier. Conversion: Wesley Roberts. Penalty: Roberts. Drop-Goal: Juan Kotze.