Andre Pretorius turned in an assured flyhalf performance to lead the Platinum Leopards to a 51-22 win (half-time 20-3) over the Valke in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Pretorius, a veteran of 31 tests for the Springboks, scored 16 points courtesy of five conversions, a penalty and a drop goal and generally dictated play well with some superb tactical kicking, two kicks leading to tries, as the Leopards secured their fourth win in five matches.
Right-wing Danie Dames ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Leopards scored six tries to two to consign the Valke to their fourth loss of the season.
The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges but they were rocked by a 17-point blitz in just seven minutes from the Leopards.
The visitors opened their account in the ninth minute when flank Philip de Wet went over untouched after a deft scoring pass from loosehead prop BG Uys.
Pretorius added the conversion before kicking a penalty to put the Leopards in to a 10-0 lead.
Worse was to come for the Valke as the Leopards then scored directly from the kick-off after fullback Hoffman Maritz split the defence wide open with a searing run that saw him carry the ball up to the halfway line.
The ball then found its way to left wing Allister Kettledas who outsprinted the cover defence to score in the corner with Pretorius succeeding with the difficult touchline conversion.
The Valke finally stopped the bleeding with a 23rd minute penalty from their flyhalf Karlo Aspeling but the Leopards restored their 17-point advantage a minute later when Pretorius snapped over a drop goal.
The Valke had a territorial advantage in the first half while possession was almost equal but their lack of finishing ability cost them in the first half while the Leopards’ scrum was gaining increasing dominance.
But the Valke finally had something to cheer about at the end of the half when they grabbed their first try when Aspeling put in a cross kick inside the Leopards’ 22-metre area that was collected by fullback JW Bell who fed wing Sino Ganto who went over in the right-hand corner.
Aspeling missed the conversion as the Leopards went to the break holding a 20-8 lead.
The visitors took just two minutes to open their account in the second half when Dames chased through a grubber kick from Pretorius to score his first try of the afternoon.
But the Valke responded in the best possible fashion, three minutes later, with the try of the match when they turned over the ball in their own 22-metre line before launching a counter-attack.
Eighthman Marco Kotze sparked the move before Ganto carried the ball up the right-hand touchline. The ball eventually travelled through seven pairs of hands before inside centre Willie Odendaal was on hand to round the move off.
However, the Leopards were not be de denied and they grabbed their bonus-point try in the 55th minute after a slick backline move saw Maritz crash over in the corner for a converted try.
Pretorius was enjoying himself and he put in a clever chip kick for Dames who ran through to gather the ball and cross untouched for his second try, in the 63rd minute.
Dames then grabbed his hat-trick with just over 10 minutes left in the contest when he went over in the right-hand corner before replacement back Andrew van Wyk went over for a consolation try for the Valke in the 77th minute.
Valke – Tries: Sino Ganto, Willie Odendaal, Andrew van Wyk; Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (2); Penalty: Aspeling.
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Philip de Wet, Allister Kettledas, Danie Dames (3), Hoffman Maritz; Conversions: Andre Pretorius (5), Adriaan Engelbrecht; Penalties: Pretorius, Engelbrecht; Drop goal: Pretorius.