First Div: Griffons v Falcons in Final
The Griffons will host the Falcons in the First Division Final at the North West Stadium, in Welkom, next Friday.
This follows two dramatic semifinals – in which Louis Strydom slotted a drop-goal in injury time to secure the Griffons a 45-43 win over the SWD Eagles, before the Falcons travelled to Potchefstroom to upstage the Leopards 31-24.
The latter of the two results finally brought an end to the playing career of Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who said that he will now move into the coaching ranks.
The victories for the Griffons and Falcons marked their first wins of the season against their respective opposition teams.
* The clash between the Griffons and SWD Eagles was thrilling, as the teams showed their desire to advance to the Final from the outset.
The visitors, who registered home and away victories against the Welkom side this season, took an early lead with a penalty by points machine Elric van Vuuren and they continued to take advantage of their point-scoring chances which earned them a 16-13 lead at the break.
The teams continued to put their bodies on the line in the second half and scored tries at will, with the home team adding four tries to the one scored in the first half, while SWD increased their tally for the match to four.
Van Vuuren added his fifth penalty of the match with two minutes left on the clock to hand his team a one-point lead. But their hopes of toppling the Griffons for the third time this season for a final berth were dashed by a late drop goal by flyhalf Louis Strydom, which sealed the victory for the hosts.
* The clash in Potchefstroom was equally exciting as the Falcons scored three back-to-back tries in 11 minutes after conceding an early try against the Leopards, which pushed them into a morale-boosting lead early in the second quarter.
The Leopards replied with another two tries before half-time to level the scores at 19-all at the break.
The Falcons continued to use their point-scoring chances well in the second half as they showed patience and flair on attack, which allowed them to build up an encouraging 31-19 lead, which they managed to maintain until the fourth quarter.
In stark contrast the Leopards' performance was riddled with errors at crucial times, which denied them momentum and possible points.
The Falcons were reduced to 14 men in the 72nd minute when replacement hooker Bruce Muller was sent to the sin bin, which the Leopards took advantage of to score their fourth try of the match.
This reduced the deficit on the scoreboard to seven points with five minutes to go. But the Leopards were unable to level to scores to force the match into extra time as mistakes continued to cost them in the dying minutes.
Semifinal scores and scorers:
Leopards 24-31 Falcons
Tries: Smith 2, Mahuza 2
Cons: Pretorius 2
Tries: Richter, Muller, Dippenaar 2, Mostert
Cons: Kotze 3
Yellow card: Bruce Muller (Falcons, 74)
Leopards: 15 Ryno Smith, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Luther Obi, 10 André Pretorius (captain), 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Morne Hanekom, 7 Henro-Pierre Swart, 6 Rhyk Welgemoed, 5 Danie Jordaan, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 JC Oberholzer, 1 Johan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Vermaak, 17 Stephan Bezuidenhout, 18 PJ Uys, 19 Juan Language, 20 Vian van der Watt, 21 Sergio Torrens, 22 Adri Jacobs.
Falcons: 15 Jaun Kotze, 14 Dirk Dippenaar, 13 Andrew van Wyk, 12 Willie Odendaal, 11 Coert Cronje, 10 Clinton Ryno Swart, 9 Anrich Richter, 8 Andrew van Tonder (captain), 7 JP Mostert, 6 Juan-Pierre Jonck, 5 Jacques Alberts, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Nico Pretorius, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Dandre van der Westhuizen.
Replacements: 16 Bruce Muller, 17 Thulani Ngidi, 18 Marlyn Williams, 19 Ernst Ladendorf, 20 Jaco Snyman, 21 Kyle Hendricks, 22 Dewald Pretorius.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Gerrie de Bruin
TMO: Johan Greeff
Griffons 45-43 SWD Eagles
Tries: Ehlers, Nelson 2, Maarman, Pienaar
Cons: Strydom 4
Pens: Strydom 2
DGs: Strydom 2
Tries: Scott, Du Plessis, Wagman 2
Cons: Van Vuuren 4
Pens: Van Vuuren 5
Griffons: 15 Tertius Maarman, 14 Norman Nelson, 13 Vuyo Mbotho, 12 Japie Nel, 11 Aubrey McDonald, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Nicky Steyn (captain), 7 Armandt Koster, 6 Frans Sisita, 5 Johan van der Hoogt, 4 Chris Ehlers, 3 Heinrich Roelfse, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Gerard Baard.
Replacements: 16 Hannes Snyman, 17 Daniel van der Merwe, 18 Erik le Roux, 19 Martin Sithole, 20 Oshwill Nortje, 21 Franna du Toit, 22 Wynand Pienaar.
SWD Eagles: 15 Elric van Vuuren, 14 Clinton Wagman, 13 Ashwin Scott, 12 Gerrit Smith, 11 Hentzwill Pedro, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Christo Du Plessis, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Alwyn Bester, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Grant le Roux, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Kurt Haupt, 1 Roy Godfrey (captain).
Replacements: 16 Wayne Khan, 17 Layle Delo, 18 Lyndon Hartnick, 19 Buran Parks, 20 Leighton Eksteen, 21 Daniel Roberts, 22 Alshaun Bock.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Francois de Bruin
TMO: JJ Wagner