Potchefstroom - The Leopards got their season off to winning start when they beat the Golden Lions 23-16 (half-time 8-6) in their Vodacom Cup match at Profert Olen Park, in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The experienced Leopards used their superior weight advantage in the scrums to grind down their younger opponents. They also shaded the possesion and territorial stakes.
The Lions opened the scoring as early as the third minute when fullback Marais Schmidt slotted a penalty. The Leopards bounced back seven minutes later when their fullback burst through two tackles after some good lineout work from his forwards to score the game's opening try which former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius failed to convert.
The Lions regained the lead when Schmidt was successful with another penalty after 13 minutes.
But Pretorius, ensured that the his side went into the break with their noses in front when kicked his first penalty of the day.
The Lions got off to a flying start in the second half and after nine minutes had moved into a 16-8 lead thanks to a try, conversion and penalty from Schmidt, who scored all of his team's points in the game.
But the home side kept their composure and with 12 minutes remaining, centre George Tossel narrowed the gap to 16-11 by way of a penalty. Tossel had take over the kicking duties from Pretorius, who had a disappointing day missing three penalties and a conversion.
The Leopards regained the lead when Wian Fourie forced his way over for a try which was converted by Tossel. With time up on the stadium clock, Leopards left wing Berty Visser made sure of the result when he scored in the corner.Scorers:
Tries: Hoffmann Maritz, Wian Fourie, Berty Visser
Conversions: George Tossel
Penalties: Andre Pretorius, Tossel
Tries: Marais Schmidt
Penalties: Schmidt (3)