Pumas & Leopards stay up in Currie Cup

The Platinum Leopards, winless in this year’s Premier Division of the Currie Cup, and the Pumas retained their status in the elite Premier Division after the second leg matches in the promotion/relegation phase on Friday night.

The Pumas won their match against the Eastern Province Kings 46-28 in Port Elizabeth after the first-leg draw between the two sides, while the Leopards – 15 points to the good after their clash against the SWD Eagles in Potchefstroom last weekend – came back dramatically to retain their place despite a 32-28 loss in George in the second round.

The Leopards came back from the verge of relegation with two tries in the last six minutes to retain their position in the elite competition.

Despite the loss, they remained on the plus side with their points differential superior to that of the Eagles after the two sides had ended square on six log points each.

Going into the match, the Leopards enjoyed a 15-point lead on the scoreboard but crucially also led by five log points to one following their 37-22 first-leg win last weekend at Olen Park in Potchefstroom.

But the hosts built up what looked like a promotion-winning 32-16 lead with five minutes to play. They looked to have done everything they needed to, not only overtake the Leopards on log points but also wiping out the negative points difference from the first match.

Then, Leopards’ Walter Venter barged his way over to draw his side level on log points to reduce the two-legged contest to a straight points difference affair, a mere two minutes from time, following replacement Sarel Marais’ try when he slipped through a tired-looking Eagles defence in the 75th minute.

At that point, with the score at 32-21, the Eagles were still in pole position for Premier honours but needed to prevent the Leopards from scoring the try that would have got them to within seven. But then Venter changed all that.

The Pumas used the wind to good effect to return from a 12-0 deficit after a first half where they went into the break 13 points behind at 22-15. But then, playing with the wind, the more physical Pumas forwards in particular did more than their bit in a match that was closer than the final score suggests although never rising to any great heights before a crowd of about 40 000.

It was a deserved win for the Pumas who showed more structure and took their chances better throughout, as indicated by their six tries to three after last week’s six tries to four.

The scorers in the two matches were:

In George: SWD Eagles 32 Leopards 28


SWD Eagles
Tries: Henry Grimes, Hans Grobler, Jacques Engelbrecht, Shaun Raubenheimer, Jaco Terblanche.
Conversions: Ambrose Barends (2)
Penalty: Barends.

Tries: RW Kember, Sarel Marais, Walter Venter
Conversions: Clayton Durand, Marais
Penalties: Durand (3).


In Port Elizabeth: EP Kings 28 Pumas 46



EP Kings
Tries: Wayne Stevens (2), JJ Gagiano
Conversions: Monty Dumont (2)
Penalties: Dumont (3).

Tries Christo le Roux (2), Andries Kruger, Corne Steenkamp, Dawie Steyn, Vainon Wills
Conversions: Carl Bezuidenhout (5)
Penalty: Bezuidenhout (2).

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