Pumas hold off Leopards
The Barloworld Toyota Pumas held off a fast-finishing Platinum Leopards’ outfit to claim a narrow 27-26 (half-time 20-13) in their Absa Currie Cup match at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday.
The visitors had looked comfortable as they held a 27-17 lead just two minutes into the second half but they failed to add to their tally as the home side dominated scoring for the rest of the half.
It took a sterling defensive effort from the Pumas to hold the hosts out as the visitors played the last nine minutes of the match with only 14 men after flank Jaco Bouwer was yellow-carded by referee Pro Legoete.
The win was the Pumas’ third of the season, a week after they downed the Bulls 22-21, while the Leopards remain winless.
It took the Pumas just four minutes to open their account when wing Braam Pretorius scooted over for a try which he converted himself.
Leopards flyhalf Clayton Durand answered with a penalty but, in the ninth minute, Pumas outside centre Shaun Venter dotted down for a five-pointer as the visitors eased into a 12-3 lead.
The home side would have been especially disappointed with conceding the two early tries as they had more to do with defensive lapses than too much industry from the attackers.
Slowly but surely the Leopards clawed their way back into the contest and they grabbed their first try, through industrious scrumhalf Theo van Wyk, in the 15th minute.
Ten minutes later the hosts grabbed the lead for the first and only time in the match thanks to a penalty from flyhalf Clayton Durand.
However the Pumas sneaked backed into the lead courtesy of a Pretorius penalty before Johan Jackson stretched the gap to seven points with a try five minutes before the break.
The Pumas began the second half in bullish fashion and centre Tiann Meyer, who was originally listed as playing scrumhalf, rounded off a move to dot down for a converted try.
But the Leopards were not to be embarrassed on their home ground and a try to speedy winger Dumisani Matyeshana and two penalties from Pretorius left them one-point short of their opponents with eight minutes of the match left.
Try as they might the Leopards were unable to break through their opponent’s defence with prop Ronnie Uys, who featured strongly with ball in hand, putting in a number of vital tackles in the late stages of the contest.
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Theo van Wyk, Dumisani Matyeshana; Conversions: Clayton Durand (2); Penalties: Durand (4).
Barloworld Toyota Pumas - Tries: Braam Pretorius, Shaun Venter, Johan Jackson, Tiann Meyer; Conversions: Pretorius (2); Penalty: Pretorius.