Johannesburg - The Leopards and Griffons this weekend maintained their lead at the top of the log in the Currie Cup First Division this weekend as they registered valuable bonus-point victories to work their way into comfortable positions for possible home semi-finals.
The Valke, meanwhile, created the upset of the weekend as they defeated the SWD Eagles 24-19 in Kempton Park, which propelled them into the top four on the standings.
The Leopards bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week by thumping the Boland Cavaliers 54-32 in Potchefstroom to maintain their four-point lead on the log, while the Griffons registered a 37-32 victory against the Border Bulldogs in Welkom.
With three rounds of matches remaining, the Leopards and Griffons are in pole position to secure home semi-finals, while all of the teams, with the exception of the Border Bulldogs, still have a realistic chance of qualifying for the play-off rounds.
Valke 24 (6) SWD Eagles 19 (13)
The Valke staged a dramatic comeback from 13-6 down at half-time to topple the SWD Eagles for an invaluable home win in Kempton Park.
The Eagles took advantage of their point-scoring chances in the first half as centre Elric van Vuuren kicked two penalties in the first 19 minutes which was followed by a try by wing Alshaun Bock in the 23rd minute. In reply, the hosts scored two penalties by flyhalf Juan Kotze, which left them trailing at the break.
The second half proved to be an arm-wrestle as both teams battled to breach the defence and again settled for penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking.
The Valke, however, managed to dig deep in the last 10 minutes and breached the visitors' defence twice to secure a morale-boosting 24-19 victory.
Valke - Tries: Bruce Muller, Coert Cronje. Conversion: Juan Kotze. Penalties: Kotze (4).
SWD Eagles - Try: Alshaun Bock. Conversion: Elric van Vuuren. Penalties: Van Vuuren (4).
Griffons 37 (22) Border Bulldogs 32 (20)
In Welkom, the Griffons and Border Bulldogs were involved in a tight tussle from the outset as both teams threw everything at each other. A total of nine tries were scored in the match, but it was the five tries by the Griffons to four by the visitors that earned them the victory.
The hosts signalled their intentions early on as centre Japie Nel scored in the opening minute and they followed with another five-pointer nine minutes later.
Border, however, fought back and scored back-to-back tries, and this pattern continued for the remainder of the match. The Griffons had a narrow two-point lead at the break and managed to remain in control despite the visitors' determined efforts to create an upset.
Griffons - Tries: Aubrey McDonald, Japie Nel (2), Johan van der Hoogt, Nicky Steyn. Conversions: Franna du Toit, Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (2).
Border Bulldogs - Tries: Lithabile Mgwadleka, Lundi Ralarala, Masixole Banda, Rynardt van Wyk. Conversions: Hansie Graaff, Masixole Banda (2). Penalties: Graaff, Banda.
Leopards 54 (26) Boland Cavaliers 32 (18)
The Leopards were in fine form against the Boland Cavaliers at Olen Park in Potchefstroom as they scored an impressive eight tries to rack up their 54 points.
Centre Hoffman Maritz earned a hat-trick, while flank Johan Deysel and centre George Tossel each scored two tries to add to one by hooker Jacques Vermaak. Flyhalf and captain Andr Pretorius contributed seven conversions.
The Cavaliers, however, also showed off their attacking skills and earned a four-try bonus point for their efforts.
The first half was hard fought as the teams attacked with intent and earned their rewards, with the Leopards scoring three tries to two by the visitors for a 26-18 lead.
Two tries in two minutes by the Leopards early in the second half pushed them into a position to control proceedings, but the Cavaliers refused to give up and scored two more tries.
However, the Leopards' eighth five-pointer in the dying minutes allowed them to breach the 50-point mark and secure a convincing victory.
Leopards - Tries: George Tossel (2), Hoffman Maritz (3), Jacques Vermaak, Johan Deysel (2). Conversions: Andr Pretorius (7).
Boland Cavaliers - Tries: Christian Rust, Jovelian de Koker, Richard Lawson, Victor Kruger. Conversions: Eric Zana (2), Morne Hugo. Penalties: Hugo (2).