The Platinum Leopards have one foot in the big time after beating the Valke 29-24 in a promotion relegation match played in Brakpan on Friday night.
The visitors from Potchefstroom deservedly won the match after trailing 10-6 at half-time.
The Leopards took control of the match in the second half with flyhalf Clayton Durand’s educated boot, dictating in the second stanza with a slight breeze and rain at his back.
The Valke scored a valuable bonus point after the hooter sounded when big prop Dewald Coetzee scored a try to narrow the gap between the two teams to five points before next Friday’s game in Potchefstroom.
All the Leoaprds have to do when they host the visitors at Profert Olën Park is to win the game to guarantee participation in the A section of the Currie Cup next year.
The game started with the two teams feeling each other out like two boxers and the Valke scored the only try of the first half when veteran Nico Luus and hooker Jody Jeneker caught the Leopards asleep winning the ball in the front of the line out and advanced to just short of the Leopards goalline from where Valke captain Hanno Coetzee crossed the line.
After the break Durand slotted another two penalties to take the Leopards into a 12-10 lead before flanker Jaco Bouwer intercepted a loose pass from a Valke player to put some daylight between the two scores.
The Valke eventually scored three tries to the two of the Leopards but played tactically poorly against the wind and rain, putting themselves under unnecessary pressure.
The final nail in the coffin was a try by Leopards full back Jan van Zyl who raced away to score a vital try which took the Leopards 12 points ahead before Coetzee’s final act.
Scorers: Leopards: Tries: Jaco Bouwer, Jan van Zyl. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalties: Durand (5).
Valke: Tries: Hanno Coetzee, Poerie van Rooyen, Dewald Coetzee. Convesions: Jeff Perkins, Van Rooyen (2). Penalty: Perkins.