The Golden Lions were crowned SARU EBJ Mining Construction Northern Sub-Union champions on Friday after a hard-fought 32-22 victory over hosts the Leopards in the final at Profert Olën Park in Potchefstroom.
The match was the climax of three days of action at the home of Leopards rugby, with the eight-team tournament featuring the best uncontracted players registered to non-premier league clubs.
The Lions’ hero was centre Theo Calitz, who scored the decisive try with seven minutes remaining when the scores were locked at 22-22. Calitz slotted the conversion, then added a late penalty to seal the result. Calitz also kicked two earlier conversions and a penalty to finish with a personal haul of 17 points.
Flanker Hennie Rademeyer, eighthman Corrie van der Schyff and right wing Adriaan van Niekerk were the other try-scorers.
The Leopards, featuring 11 players from the Klerksdorp club in their starting team, also scored four tries, to eighthman Ruan van der Berg, left wing Luthabo Stuurman, right wing Juandré Denner and fullback Clinton Prinsloo, but Prinsloo could only convert one of the scores.
Blue Bulls Limpopo won the Plate event with a 25-10 win over the Valke.
Eight teams will also contest SARU’s Southern Sub-Union tournament, due to be hosted by Boland in September.
Forward of the tournament:
Erik Heppell (Leopards & Klerksdorp)
Backline player of the tournament:
Virgil Russel (Griffons Platteland & Odendaalsrus)
Assupol Blue Bulls 27-12 Pumas Lowveld (Plate, 7th/8th place playoff)
Blue Bulls Limpopo 25-10 Valke (Plate final, 5th/6th place playoff)
Griffons Platteland 32-22 Pumas Platteland (Premier, 3rd/4th place playoff)
Golden Lions 32-22 Leopards (Premier final)