Nelspruit - The Pumas scored a late try to clinch a nail-biting 29-27 (half-time 12-10) Currie Cup Qualifiers victory over the Leopards at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
According to SuperSport, the lead changed hands several times through a pulsating match in the North-East of the country and the Leopards had taken the lead for the fifth time when replacement forward Loftus Morrison dotted down for his second try to register a try-scoring bonus-point for the visitors. Utility back Malherbe Swart, converted to give the Leopards a slender three-point advantage with 14 minutes left on the clock.
But the Pumas used their forward domination to good effect and replacement hooker Francois du Toit scored after a push-over try on the stroke of full-time to hand the hosts their ninth victory of the season to move them up to third on the qualifying log.
The Leopards had taken an early lead with a penalty from flyhalf Schalk Hugo but tighthead prop and captain, De-Jay Terblanche, scored the first try of the match after 14 minutes, which fullback Devon Williams converted to give the Pumas a four-point lead. But the Leopards struck back eight minutes later when Morris dashed over for his first try of the evening to restore their three-point advantage with Hugo adding the extra two points.
No 8 Carel Greeff then barged his way over for the hosts' second try, which was unconverted, after 24 minutes as the teams played out the rest of the first half with the Pumas leading by just two points.
The Leopards started the second stanza in style when left wing Jaco Hayward went over for his first try just three minutes after the restart. The Pumas though struck back immediately through right wing Tyler Fisher, who crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Both sides were intent on throwing the ball around and the Leopards scored their third try as Hayward scored again to give the visitors a three-point lead. But the Pumas restored their lead just six minutes later as Greeff rumbled over the line after a dominant forward display. Replacement fullback, Justin van Staden converted to give the hosts a four-point advantage just before midway through the second half.
The Leopards weren't able to hang on to their three-point lead after Morrison's second try as Du Toit snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as the Pumas walked away with five log points while the Leopards managed two points.
Pumas - Tries: Carel Greeff (2), De-Jay Terblanche, Tyler Fisher, Francois du Toit; Conversions: Devon Williams, Justin van Staden
Leopards - Tries: Loftus Morrison (2), Jaco Hayward (2); Conversions: Schalk Hugo, Malherbe Swart; Penalty: Hugo
Read the story on SuperSport