Smith sinks Valke with late penalty
April 22, 2016

Rhyno Smith landed a late penalty as the Leopards secured a 26-24 (halftime 13-14) victory over the Hino Valke in their provincial tournament clash at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday evening.

The home side secured their first victory of the campaign after suffering a heavy 76-26 thrashing at the hands of the Down Touch Griffons a week ago, but Smith landed four penalties, two conversions and a try to register 21 points and help his side to their narrow win.

The fullback was instrumental in his first victory despite the home side being dominated at scrum-time by the Valke. The Valke opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute when right wing Kyle Hendricks came in off the wing to scythe his way through the defence after a lineout inside the Leopards 22m area, to score close to the poles.

Smith opened the Leopards’ account shortly after flyhalf Karlo Aspeling had converted Hendricks’ try with his first penalty, but it was the home side who claimed ascendancy midway through the first half when lock Walt Steenkamp barged his way over the line after the home side secured a lineout just five metres from their opponents tryline. Smith converted to hand the home side a three-point lead before slotting his second penalty to extend their advantage to six points.

But the Valke then produced a scintillating try as outside centre, Andries Truter, broke away inside his own 22m area and fed his centre partner, Grant Janke, who then chipped the ball ahead with Hendricks collecting and dotting down for his second converted try shortly before the halftime whistle.

The visitors extended their lead early in the second stanza when Aspeling ran at the Leopards’ defensive line and with prop Nhlanhla Ngcuma in front of him, sold a wonderful dummy and broke inside before off-loading to scrumhalf Sinovuyo Nyoka, who dived over under the poles. Aspeling’s conversion opened up an eight-point lead for the visitors before Smith turned the game.

The fullback slotted his third penalty before scoring a try from turn-over ball. Aspeling floated a long pass out to the right which was intercepted by left wing Dean Stokes. The Leopards recycled the ball and flyhalf Barend Janse van Rensburg broke the line and chipped ahead where Smith darted down the left-hand touch line, collected the ball with one hand before beating a defender and going in under the sticks for a converted try.

Aspeling regained the lead for the visitors with just under 10 minutes remaining after some sustained pressure by the Valke caught Smith offside but then as the Leopards pushed to find a way through the defences, replacement prop, Dwight Pansegrouw went flying into Chriswell September, flattening the utility back with a late tackle that resulted in the winning penalty goal.


Leopards – Tries: Walt Steenkamp, Rhyno Smith; Conversions: Smith (2); Penalties: Smith (4).

Hino Valke – Tries: Kyle Hendricks (2), Sinovuyo Nyoka; Conversions: Aspeling (3); Penalty: Aspeling.

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