The Leopards will hunt with the big game of the Currie Cup competition next season, after defeating the Falcons for a second weekend in a row in Potchefstroom on Friday.
They outscored the Falcons 27-19 in their gutsiest performance of the season.
Rugby 365 reports that in the end the victors scored two tries to the Falcons’s one, both superb efforts by their wings Jan van Zyl and Vuyo Zangqa, the latter probably the Man of the Match.
The Leopards tackled like true champions for the first time this season in a first half dominated territorially by the Falcons and they put their bodies on the line.
Absorbing the pressure for as long as 25 minutes, pinned down in their own 25, finally won them the match.
They turned 9-13 down at the break, with three penalties by their ace goal-kicker Clayton Durand to show for their guts.
Falcons fullback Petrus van Rooyen scored all his teams points, which included a brilliant break-away try from deep inside his own half when they turned over possession.
There were more than just two Leopards stars on the park, but Zangqa needs a special mention. His magic turned the tide when the Falcons had an iron grip on the game, both on attack, in defence and with his underrated boot.
Fullback Van Zyl had a second try disallowed by the TV ref, but this helped him to equal the all-time Leopards record of 19 in a season.
Scrumhalf Michael Bondesio also warrants special mention. He absorbed great pressure in the first half and showed that he is indeed the best No.9 currently in the province.
The Leopards often turned over possession during their time near their goal-line which kept the Falcons from scoring and away from their try-line.
It was an all-out team effort and youngster WD Botha chipped in with eight vital points when the chips were down, to take the Leopards clear of the Falcons in the final quarter.
He slotted two penalties and a difficult conversion after attempting a monster 60-metre kick soon after taking the field.
The Falcons will have to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of this defeat, with many of their star players leaving the union.
For the Leopards:
Tries: Van Zyl, Zangqa
Pens: Durand 3, Botha 2
For the Falcons:
Try: Van Rooyen
Con: Van Rooyen
Pens: Van Rooyen 4
Leopards: 15 Jan van Zyl, 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 Dietlov Coetzee, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Nardus Lombard.
Replacements: Pellow van der Westhuizen, Os van der Walt, Rynard Landman, Bennie Adams and three from Theo van Wyk, WD Botha, Japie Nel, Paul Bosch, Anvor Schooney.
Falcons: 15 Petrus van Rooyen, 14 Dewald Pretorius, 13 Franco Booysen, 12 Alwyn Burger, 11 Johan Swartz, 10 Hanno Coetzee (captain), 9 Gerrie Odendaal, 8 Reg Muller, 7 Thabo Mamojele, 6 Gert Lubbe, 5 Doepie du Preez, 4 Nico Luus, 3 Frik Venter, 2 Rayno Barnes, 1 Gavin Whittingham.
Replacements: 16 Jody Jeneker, 17 Dewald Coetzee, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Daan-Roux van Coller, 20 Sean Plaatjies, 21 AN Other, 22 AN Other.
Referee: Marius Jonker
Touch judges: Willie Roos, Peter de Bruin
TMO: Michael Cupido