Dames hat-trick sinks Pumas
Danie Dames scored a hat-trick of tries as the Platinum Leopards battled their way to a hard-fought 32-23 win (half-time 10-13) over the Ford Pumas in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
Right wing Demas was the star of the show as the Leopards ran in five tries to two while only poor goal-kicking preventing the hosts from winning by a larger margin.
However, the match had been a tight affair with the Pumas holding a 16-15 lead after 51 minutes but the Leopards finally found their range to win the battle of two teams which had been in the Currie Cup Premier Division last season.
The Leopards began the match in fine style and an early spell of dominance was rewarded after six minutes when left wing Allister Kettledas, after nine phases of possession, went over in the tackle for an unconverted try.
But the Pumas soon settled into the match and they struck back with a try from centre JW Jonker in the 12th minute after a powerful surge from the visitors' forwards had carried the ball into the Leopards’ 22-metre area.
Pumas fullback JC Roos converted the try before he added two penalties as the visitors eased to a 13-5 lead after 36 minutes.
The Leopards had the final say in the first half thanks to a wonderful backline move from a scrum 25 metres from the Pumas’ tryline which resulted in Dames going over in corner for a well-worked try.
The first half had been a fairly even contest, as evidenced by both teams have 50 per cent possession but the hosts were the first to strike in the second half.
The Leopards turned over the ball on the Pumas’ 10-metre line and Dames was quick to take advantage of the plethora of Pumas’ forwards in their backline to streak over in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try.
The score saw the Leopards move into a two-point lead but the Pumas regained the lead three minutes later when Roos nailed his third penalty of the contest.
Leopards flyhalf Gerhard Nortier was having an off day with the boot and had missed three conversions and a penalty so, when the home team was awarded a kickable penalty six metres short of the Pumas tryline, they opted for a quick tap and go.
The Leopards’ industry was rewarded when replacement lock Ernie Strydom stretched over to score a converted try as the hosts moved into a 22-15 lead with a quarter of the match left.
The try seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Pumas and Dames completed his hat-trick, in the 63rd minute, with a fine finish after he stepped off his wing before bumping off a would-be tackler on his way to the tryline.
Outside centre Adriaan Engelbrecht then nailed a 42-metre penalty to make certain of the victory with nine minutes left in the contest.
The Pumas did manage a late consolation try through flank Jaco Bouwer but it was too little too late.
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Danie Dames (3), Allister Kettledas, Ernie Strydom; Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (2); Penalty: Engelbrecht.
Ford Pumas – Tries: JW Jonker, Jaco Bouwer; Conversions: JC Roos (2); Penalties: Roos (3).