The Falcons kept their Vodacom Cup final hopes alive by beating the Leopards 30-23 in Potchefstroom on Friday night. Michael Vlismas reports.
Trailing 12-16 at the break, the Falcons staged a superb comeback in the second half and scored 18 points to the seven of the Leopards.
The win moved the Falcons to second on the standings on 39 points.
The visitors scored the opening try in the fifth minute through prop Zane Killian but looked far from comfortable in the first half. The Leopards responded with a fine try from wing Bertus Swanepoel four minutes later, but the Falcons hit back with a try by wing Yannick Wombo on the stroke of halftime to narrow the deficit.
Lock Dewald Senekal scored the bonus point try in the 65th minute after the ball was turned over in the midfield to kill the contest off, although the Leopards refused to lie down and scored a late try through replacement scrumhalf Frans Conradie.
In Kimberley, Griquas scored a comfortable 41-6 win over the Griffons in a scrappy encounter.
Griquas cruised to a 24-6 lead at the break and never allowed their Welkom rivals into the match.
The only Griffons points came via the boot of Jaco Steenberg, who slotted two first half penalties.
The Pumas put in a stellar second half performance to eventually run out convincing 46-7 winners over a game but outgunned Border Bulldogs in Witbank.
The East London team surprisingly led 7-5 at the break, but the Pumas limited their unforced errors and ran riot in a period that saw them score six tries.
For the Bulldogs, a try by hooker Blikkies Swart and a conversion by Rynand Gerber saw them take a lead, but they could not sustain a monumental barrage in the final 40 minutes.
The chief destroyer for the Pumas was eighthman and captain Rian van der Merwe, who led from the front and scored a brace.
Fullback Jeandre Fourie also enjoyed a fine evening with a try, four conversions and a penalty.
The Vodacom Free State Cheetahs managed to come away from Port Elizabeth with a hard-fought 42-31 victory over the Mighty Elephants.
The Cheetahs led 35-12 at the break, but the Elephants nearly came back from the dead.
Both teams scored five tries, but the most impressive feat of the evening came in the form of Cheetahs winger Phillip Burger who scored his second successive hat trick.
The other Cheetahs tries came from Dandre Gerber and scrumhalf Dougie Hellmuth, while flyhalf Albert Keuris kicked four conversions and three penalties.
The penalties turned out to be match-winners as all five Elephants tries were converted by scrumhalf and captain Chris Jonck.
Griquas 41 (24)
Tries: MJ Mentz, Christophe du Toit, Tertius Carse, Vuyani Dlomo, Jose van Rensburg. Conversions: Zane Kirchner (4), Tobie Botes. Penalties: Kirchner (2).
Griffons 6 (6)
Penalties: Jaco Steenberg (2).
Leopards 23 (16)
Tries: Bertus Swanepoel, Pieter Jordaan, Frans Conradie. Conversion: Clayton Durand. Penalties: Durand (2).
Falcons 30 (12)
Tries: Zane Killian, Yannick Wombo, Sarel Pretorius, Dewald Senekal. Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (2).
Pumas 46 (5)
Tries: Jeandre Fourie, Sacha Merot, Rian van der Merwe (2), Frikkie de Jager, Morne Kruger, Lourens Dunn. Conversions: Jeandre Fourie (4). Penalty: Fourie.
Bulldogs 7 (7)
Try: Blikkies Swart. Conversion: Rynand Gerber.
Mighty Elephants 31 (12)
Tries: Norman Nelson, Siviwe Magaba, Fabie Juries, Michael Vermaak, Sibuyile Kobokana. Conversions: Chris Jonck (3).
Free State Cheetahs 42 (35)
Tries: Phillip Burger (3), Dandre Gerber, Doudie Hellmuth. Conversions: Albert Keuris (4). Penalties: Keuris (3).