Leopards hang-on against Border
August 12, 2016

The Leopards held off a late surge by the Border Bulldogs to secure a slender 26-24 (halftime 12-12) bonus-point Currie Cup First Division victory at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday evening.

Bulldogs flyhalf Masixole Banda missed two conversions and a late penalty while the men from George had to play the final four minutes of the game with 14 men after replacement forward, Nkosi Nofuma, left the field with and injury and Border had used all their replacements.

Despite missing the three vital kicks at goal, Banda did score a try and slotted two conversions, the late penalty miss could so easily have given the men from George a vital opening victory. But with both sides having scored four tries, the Leopards landed the maximum five log points while Border limped home with two points.

Both sides scored two tries in each half with the hosts opening scoring as early as the third minute with an unconverted try through tighthead prop, Bart le Roux. Despite conceding the early try, the Bulldogs took the lead with their first try shortly after Le Roux dotted down with Number 8 Athenkosi Manentse barging over for a converted try.

The visitors extended their advantage when right wing Sipho Nofumele raced down the touchline to score but the lead remained at seven points as Banda missed the conversion. But the home side leveled matters on the stroke of the halftime whistle as flyhalf Gene Willemse crossed the line, which was converted by scrumhalf Malherbe Swart.

The Leopards came out fighting in the second stanza, scoring two converted tries through flanker HP Swart and a second to Le Roux, both converted by the home side's scrumhalf to open up a 14-point lead. But midway through the second period, Banda worked some magic to score in the corner.

Banda was unable to convert his own try which left the visitors trailing by nine points. With just 10 minutes left on the stadium clock, replacement utility back, Michael Makase found a gap and scored his side's fourth try which Banda converted to bring his side to within two points of their hosts.

Just three minutes later and Banda had the chance to give his side the lead for the first time since the end of the first half with a penalty but the flyhalf sent the ball wide, sending the very small crowd into raptures. Worse was to follow for the visitors as Nofuma left the field leaving his side to fight with a man short.


Leopards - Tries: Bart le Roux (2), Gene Willemse, Henro-Pierre Swart; Conversions: Malherbe Swart (3).

Border Bullldogs - Tries: Athenkosi Manentsa, Sipho Nofemele, Masixole Banda, Michael Makase; Conversions: Banda (2).


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