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Leopards upset Valke as Griffons march on

rugby07 May 2022 16:31| © MWP
By:Ross Roche
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The Leopards upset the high-flying Valke, picking up a 25-15 win, while the unstoppable Down Touch Griffons claimed another bonus-point win, this time beating the South Western District Eagles 40-16 to be the only unbeaten team left in the Carling Currie Cup first division.

There were also wins for international teams the Zimbabwe Goshawks and the Simbas, 23-22 over the Boland Cavaliers and 35-12 over the Border Bulldogs respectively, on a super Saturday that featured four games.

LEOPARDS PROVE THEY MEAN BUSINESS

Defending champion Leopards proved they still have what it takes to mount a title defence after claiming a good win over the in-form Valke in their match at Olen Park in Potchefstroom.

Going into the match the Valke had racked up four straight wins to get off to a flyer in the competition, while the Leopards had struggled with one win against two losses in their three games.

However, a big first-half effort saw them lead the Valke 20-3 at the break, and despite being outscored in the second half it was too much for the Valke to claw back.

An early penalty from flyhalf M Venter put the Leopards on the board, before hooker T van der Merwe went over for the opening score, with Venter converting for a 10-0 lead after 19 minutes.

Valke flyhalf K Fortune and Venter then traded penalties, before Leopards prop R du Plessis crashed over for a converted try in the 31st minute, giving the home side a big lead at the break.

An unconverted try to Valke left wing V Wellman in the 55th minute was then followed up by an unconverted score to Leopards right wing P Niekerk in the 65th minute with the score 25-8.

Wellman’s second try, converted by Fortune with six minutes to go, gave the visitors a sliver of hope, but they were unable to cross the whitewash again as the Leopards held on for a big win.

GRIFFONS POWER PAST EAGLES

The Griffons shook off a sluggish first-half performance to power to a 40-16 (halftime 16-9) bonus-point win over the Eagles at the Pelatona Projects Stadium in Nelspruit, to break free of the Valke who had been keeping pace with them at the top of the first division table.

The Griffons have enjoyed a dominant showing in the competition to date, but they were pushed hard by the Eagles in what was a pretty even first half.

It was a full-on kicking battle between Eagles fullback Gene Willemse and Griffons scrumhalf Jaywinn Juries, as the Eagles twice took the lead, with the Griffons hitting back, before taking the lead themselves and then the Eagles drawing things level at nine-all after 36 minutes.

Griffons flank Oupa Mohoje powered his way over for the games first try in the 40th minute, with Juries's conversion giving the home side a seven-point lead at the break.

Two quickfire tries to inside centre Marquit September and flyhalf Duann Pretorius at the start of the second half, both converted by Juries, saw the Griffons take control with the score 30-9 after 51 minutes.

An unconverted try to Griffons hooker Dandre Delport pushed them further ahead, only for the Eagles to hit back with a converted try to right wing Andre Manuel to make it 35-16 after 72 minutes.

The Griffons closed out the match with a late unconverted score to replacement hooker Chadley Wenn, to seal a solid result in the end.

GOSHAWKS STRIKE LATE TO DOWN CAVALIERS

The Zimbabwe Goshawks battled back from a halftime deficit to snatch a thrilling 23-22 (halftime 5-15) win over the Boland Cavaliers at False Bay Rugby Club in Cape Town.

It was the Cavaliers who stormed into a 15-0 lead after 26 minutes, after an early penalty to outside centre Gareth Skippers was followed up by tries to scrumhalf Jaidon Baron and left wing Warren Williams, with one converted by Skippers.

The Goshawks hit back with a valuable unconverted try to left wing Ernerst Mudzengerere after the halftime hooter to get on the board.

The Goshawks continued their fightback in the first 10 minutes of the second half as replacement scrumhalf Hilton Madariki knocked over two penalties and replacement flyhalf Taku Musingwini dotted down for a converted try as they took an 18-15 lead after 49 minutes.

Williams's second try, converted by Skippers, put the Cavaliers back in front after 60 minutes, leading to an exciting finish with Goshawks fullback Brendon Maume going over for an unconverted try with two minutes remaining, which was enough to sneak the win.

SIMBAS SEAL STRONG WIN OVER BULLDOGS

Kenyan side Simbas picked up a comfortable 35-12 (halftime 12-7) win over the Border Bulldogs at the Davidson Stadium in Alice.

It was a fast start to the game for the visitors as hooker Brian Warabe went over, with flyhalf Geoffrey Ominde converting for and eighth-minute lead, only for the home side to level the scores in the 33rd minute with a try to right wing Mihlali Nobomvu, converted by flyhalf Lwandile Mapuko.

A penalty to Ominde and an unconverted score to outside centre Vincent Owino on the halftime hooter gave the Simbas a 15-7 lead at the break.

An unconverted try to Simbas right wing Timothy Ejakait was followed up by an unconverted score to Bulldogs lock Meyelana Ngobeni to make it 20-12 after 60 minutes.

The rest of the match belonged to the Simbas as fullback Darwin Kinyangi went over for an unconverted try, Ejakait scored his second, converted by replacement back Jone Tavaga, who then slotted a late penalty to seal an impressive result.