The Platinum Leopards held off the fast-finishing Regent Boland Kavaliers to claim a narrow 23-21 (half-time 10-7) victory in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at Wesbank Sports Ground in Malmesbury on Friday.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Boland, who remain winless this season, as flyhalf Elgar Watts had a chance to win the match in the dying seconds only to for him to see his difficult touchline penalty attempt drift wide of the posts.
The win was the Leopards’ second of the season and saw them move to third on the table with nine points, six points behind the unbeaten Griffons.
Both teams scored three tries but the Leopards, who found themselves holding a 23-14 lead after 70 minutes, had to endure a nervous last 10 minutes after the hosts fought back with a late try from replacement flank Milroy Isaacs.
Watts kicked the conversion to narrow the gap to just two points but he was unable to repeat the feat with his last-gasp penalty attempt.
The visitors had a perfect start to the match when lock Siyanda Ndlovu crashed over after just four minutes of play with former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius kicking the conversion.
Leopards centre Adriaan Engelbrecht kicked a penalty 10 minutes later and the score remained 10-0 to the visitors until 11 minutes before the break before Watts scooted over for a try which he converted himself.
Boland took the lead for the first time in the match, seven minutes after half-time, when flank Franzel September crossed for a converted try.
The Leopards found themselves trailing 14-10 but a 13-point blitz saw them take a lead that they would not relinquish.
The fight-back started when fullback Hoffman Maritz dotted down for an unconverted try before replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle barged his way over for another unconverted score.
Engelbrecht kicked his second successful penalty in the 70th minute before Boland launched a desperate last-ditch attempt to win the match.
Boland’s endeavour was rewarded five minutes before the final whistle when Isaacs crossed for a converted try to bring the hosts with within touching distance of their rivals but it was not to be as the Kavaliers had to settle for one bonus point for finishing within seven points of the Leopards.
REGENT BOLAND KAVALIERS – Tries: Elgar Watts, Franzil September, Milroy Isaacs; Conversions: Watts (3).
PLATINUM LEOPARDS – Tries: Siyanda Ndlovu, Hoffman Maritz, Edgar Marutlulle; Conversion: Andre Pretorius; Penalties: Adriaan Engelbrecht (2).