WP too strong for Leopards
June 06, 2016

DHL Western Province built on the momentum of last week’s victory to overcome a gutsy Leopards side 43-34 (half time 31-13) at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday evening.

Their narrow win over Griquas at DHL Newlands in Cape Town last week put Province on the front foot for the Currie Cup qualifying game against the Leopards and resulted in an impressive six tries being scored by the visitors.

The Leopards are always a difficult outfit at home and a fiery start in the first five minutes had the home crowd on their feet. Leopards full back Rhyno Smith, who was to be the pick of the litter so to speak, scored as early as the second minute and kicked the conversion, followed by a penalty for a 10-0 lead after just five minutes.

Province recovered after their early stumble and flanker Beyers de Villiers’ converted try a minute thereafter softened the initial blow. A yellow card to Leopards centre Henko Marais after the first 10 minutes left the hosts vulnerable in midfield on defence and Province scored twice in his absence.

Winger Khanyo Ngcukana dotted down and full back Grant Hermanus scored the first of his brace before Marais returned, with fly half Scott van Breda doing additional damage with the kicking boot. All the while Smith, who scored 24 of the Leopards points, tried to keep the hosts in the game, either with smart attacking play or the occasional drop goal.

The last 20 minutes of the first half belonged to Province. Van Breda kicked a penalty and added another conversion as Hermanus completed his brace of tries for the bonus point. That left the score at 31-13 in favour of the visitors as the hooter sounded for the break.

As play resumed, so did the attacking efforts of Western Province and the visitors took the game away from the Leopards. Replacement back Freddie Muller’s unconverted try in the 47th minute stretched their lead to 23 points and it seemed the Leopards were down and out for the count.

However the hosts never backed down and in an impressive 10 minutes scored twice to give the Leopards faithful something to cheer about. First flanker Marno Redelinghuys burst over before Smith continued his good form with his second try of the evening, converting both.

Lock Jean Kleyn’s try in the 70th minute echoed Province’s dominance, with Van Breda kicking the conversion to complete a personal points tally of 13 on the day. The Leopards had the last say as replacement back Jaco Hayward scored five minutes from time and Smith converted to lessen the deficit to just nine points.

DHL Western Province 43 (31):
Tries: Grant Hermanus (2), Beyers de Villiers, Freddie Muller, Jean Kleyn, Khanyo Ngcukana. Conversions: Scott van Breda (5). Penalty: Van Breda.
Leopards 34 (13): Tries: Rhyno Smith (2), Jaco Hayward, Marno Redelinghuys. Conversions: Rhyno Smith (4). Penalty: Smith. Drop Goal: Smith.

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