The Leopards were in front until the 65th minute but ran out of steam and ideas on how to contain the visitors from Kimberley
Whether it was another slow start by the Tafel Lager Griquas or just an exceptionally fast start by the Leopards, in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge fixture played on
Friday at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom is unclear, but the fact is that the hosts raced to a 24-15 half-time lead, before Griquas came roaring back to clinch the encounter with a brilliant 31-46 victory.
The Leopards, the only side in the Central Section yet to secure a win, were in front until the 65th minute but ran out of steam and ideas on how to contain the visitors from Kimberley.
Meanwhile, the iCollege Pumas, DHL Western Province and Toyota Free State XV kept their winning records intact after the sixth round of the competition on a weekend that saw a first win for the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in this year’s competition.
There was once again a rash of tries this week. Enver Brandt (pictured), the leading try-scorer in 2018, helped himself to four more, setting a new mark for tries scored in this exciting competition.
Brandt has now scored 11 tries for Griquas, improving on the nine tries scored by himself and Frank Herne (iCollege Pumas) in the inaugural season last year. It was not only Brandt who stood out for the visitors, he was ably supported by seasoned midfielder Jonathan Francke who kept the home side’s defenders busy, with Kyle Steyn enjoying an equally brilliant game. Griquas flyhalf, André Swarts, had a field day spotting gaps in the hosts’ defences, as did his replacement, George Whitehead.
Griquas have a bye this coming weekend with their next match being the return encounter against Free State at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday June 8 at 6pm.
No doubt, Peter Engledow and the coaching staff will be tightening up Griquas’ game ahead of this clash, with Griquas needing to exact revenge against the only team to have beaten them in the competition thus far this year.
In the other match in the Central Section, also played on the Free State XV kept their clean slate with a hard-fought 33-19 win over the Down Touch Griffons in Bloemfontein.
Defending champions DHL Western Province kept their unbeaten streak going in a brilliant second-half display against the EP Elephants in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Border Bulldogs are, meanwhile, making a proper charge after their slow start, this time edging out the Boland Cavaliers in East London. The home side delivered a 29-14 knockout to the visitors, who held a 14-8 lead at the break.
The North Section saw two telling results on Saturday. First, the Pumas outplayed the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria to confirm their credentials as the top dog so far, winning 34-22 at Loftus Versfeld.
The Blue Bulls will have to contest the second play-off spot with the Xerox Golden Lions it seems, especially after the Hino Valke came up short 34-24 in Kempton Park against the Welwitschias.
The Namibians scored their first win of the year and more significantly, their first away win in two years. This will be a massive boost to their confidence and they will be looking at tripping up another opponent in the remaining weeks.
Round 6 results:
Hino Valke 24-34 Windhoek Draught Welwitschias
Vodacom Blue Bulls 22-34 iCollege Pumas
Eastern Province Elephants 28-75 DHL Western Province
Border Bulldogs 29-14 Boland Cavaliers
Leopards 31-46 Tafel Lager Griquas
Toyota Free State XV 33-19 Down Touch Griffons
Log points after Round 6:
iCollege Pumas 242
Vodacom Blue Bulls 163
Xerox Golden Lions XV 124
Hino Valke 75
Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 6
Toyota Free State XV 242
Tafel Lager Griquas 223
Cell C Sharks XV 124
Down Touch Griffons 95
DHL Western Province 242
Boland Cavaliers 163
Border Bulldogs 95
Eastern Province 4