The Griffons were crowned First Division champions on Friday, following a pulsating 31-26 victory over the Leopards at Olën Park in Potchefstroom.
Rugby 365 reports that Griffons fullback Cecil Afrika scored two tries and wing Howard Noble ran, kicked and chased virtually the full length of the field for a third to take the visitors to their first title since claiming the Vodacom Shield in 2001.
Flyhalf Kennedy Tsimba kicked two conversions and four penalties for a personal haul of 16 points, as he maintained his ‘lucky charm’ status with a seventh successive victory since joining the Griffons in mid-August.
Tsimba put his side ahead with a succession of penalties and a conversion of Noble’s try to give his side a 16-3 lead at one point in the first half.
The Leopards fought back to eventually level the scores at 26-26 just after the hour when flank Jaco Bouwer scored the third of his team’s tries, adding to scores by RW Kember and Riaan Swanepoel.
However Leopards flyhalf Clayton Durand – who kicked three penalties and one conversion – could not add the extra points and Afrika’s second try, nine minutes from full-time, proved decisive.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday, when the Griffons visit Boland and the Leopards travel to take on the Falcons in the first leg matches in the Currie Cup promotion and relegation matches.
* The Griffons’ victory completed a double for the Welkom-based province as they also claimed the Under-19 B Section title with an emphatic 69-15 victory over Griquas.
* In the Under-21 B Section Final Griquas beat the Falcons 42-37.
First Division scorers:
For the Leopards:
Tries: Swanepoel, Kember, Bouwer
Pens: Durand 3
For the Griffons:
Tries: Noble, Afrika 2
Cons: Tsimba 2
Pens: Tsimba 4
Leopards: 15 Anvor Schooney, 14 Vuyo Zangqa, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Basil de Doncker, 11 Colin Lloyd, 10 Clayton Durand, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Riaan Swanepoel (captain), 7 RW Kember, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Draad Linde, 4 Antonie Gronum, 3 Diedlov Coetzee, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Divan Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 17 Nardus Lombard, 18 Rynard Landman, 19 Bennie Adams, 20 Theo van Wyk, 21 Paul Bosch, 22 Jan van Zyl.
Griffons: 15 Cecil Afrika, 14 Darryl Coeries, 13 Jacko Jackson, 12 Werner Griesel, 11 Howard Noble, 10 Kennedy Tsimba, 9 Danny Theron, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Francois Uys, 6 Albert Parsons, 5 Windpomp van Rooyen, 4 Ockie van Zyl, 3 Gert Greyling, 2 Andries Kruger, 1 Sarel Louw (captain).
Replacements: 16 KleinJan Ferreira, 17 Jaco Louw, 18 Isak van der Westhuizen, 19 Jonothan Mokuena, 20 Shaun Botha, 21 Hugo Kleynhans, 22 Shane Hancke.