Newman brace downs Leopards
Centre Morgan Newman scored twice as the Free State Cheetahs rallied to beat the Leopards 38-24 (halftime 14-10) in a Vodacom Cup match played at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The visitors were dealt a blow when flyhalf Dauw Steyn was stretchered off after being knocked out in the second minute following a collision with Free State scrumhalf Tertius Carse.
The men from Potchefstroom nevertheless racked up an early 10-0 lead thanks to a penalty from Steyn’s replacement, the ever-reliable veteran Clayton Durand, and a try by former Sevens Bok and fullback Shandré Frolick.
But the home side consolidated well, scoring three tries and 24 unanswered points in a 20-minute spell either side of halftime to all but wrap up the contest.
Prop Marcel van der Merwe barged over underneath the posts on the half hour, Newman chipped and regathered for his first in injury time, and skipper Eddie Fredericks showed that he still has some pace to burn when he intercepted a loose Durand pass to make it 24-10 with half an hour to play.
Flyhalf Louis Strydom did his bit, too, kicking all three conversions as well as a 52nd-minute penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking along merrily.
The Leopards fought their way back when replacement Joubert Engelbrecht jinked over on the hour for Durand to convert but the seven-point gap soon widened again, and decisively this time, when Corné Uys and Newman went over.
Leopards eighthman Jaco van Zyl had the final say when he barged over with three minutes left but the late score was purely a consolation effort.
Free State 38 – Tries: Marcel van der Merwe, Morgan Newman (2), Eddie Fredericks, Corné Uys. Conversions: Louis Strydom (5). Penalty: Strydom.
Leopards 24 – Tries: Shandré Frolick, Joubert Engelbrecht, Jaco van Zyl. Conversions: Clayton Durand (3). Penalty: Durand.