Leopards (rugby team)
|Full name||North West Leopards|
|Union||Leopards Rugby Union|
|Region||North West Province|
|Ground(s)||Olën Park, Potchefstroom (Capacity: 22,000)|
|2015 Currie Cup First Division||1st on log
The Leopards are a South African rugby union team that participates in the annual Currie Cup tournament, currently playing in the First Division. Their home ground is Olën Park in Potchefstroom. They draw their players from the North West Province. The union was formed in 1920 and was originally called Western Transvaal.
For most of their history they've played in the second tier of the Currie Cup, but they were promoted to the Premier Division for the 2009 season after defeating the Falcons in a promotion-relegation playoff in October 2008. They remained in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup until the end of 2011 season after beating the SWD Eagles from the Southern Cape in promotion/relegation matches at the end of 2009 and 2010. However, the decision of Saru to reduce the number of teams in the Premier Division of the Currie Cup as from 2012, saw the Leopards moving down to the First Division.
They became the first black-owned rugby team in South Africa, after securing sponsorship from Royal Bafokeng Sports Holdings in October 2007. André May was elected as the new president of the Union on 29 April 2010 and was re-elected unopposed for a third two-year term during November 2013. May is a former player of Western Transvaal with 75 matches for the Union. The CEO is Louis du Plessis who replaced Eugene Hare, who is also the most capped player in the history of the Union.
The Leopards also known as the Luiperds in Afrikaans are based primarily in the university town of Potchefstroom, however in recent years have played some home games at the much larger Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. They draw their fans from across the North West Province and average crowds of 5,000 to home Currie Cup fixtures. Their traditional rivals include the Blue Bulls, the Golden Lions and the Pumas.
The team's major tournament wins include the 2015 Currie Cup First Division.
The following players were included in a pre-season training squad for 2016:
|2016 Leopards training squad|
|(c) denotes team captain.|
In addition to the players above, several players will represent the NWU Pukke in the 2016 Varsity Cup before being included in the Leopards' squad. The players included in the NWU Pukke squad are:
|Forwards||Wilmar Arnoldi • Dewald Dekker • Wian Fourie • Louis Grey • Roan Grobbelaar • Danie Jordaan • Bart le Roux • Tiaan Liebenberg • Funani Mabala • Mogau Mabokela • Mash Mafela • Loftus Morrison • DJ Putter • Marno Redelinghuys • Jeandré Rudolph • Bhekisa Shongwe • Joe Smith • Walt Steenkamp • Gideon van der Merwe • Louis van der Westhuizen • Dolf van Deventer • Ruan Venter • Estehan Visagie|
|Backs||Lucian Cupido • Jaco Hayward • Schalk Hugo • Barend Janse van Rensburg • Tapiwa Mafura • Sylvian Mahuza • Henko Marais • Alvino Montjies • Francois Nel • Ryno Pienaar • Elden Schoeman • Chriswill September • Rhyno Smith • Dean Stokes • Malherbe Swart • Gene Willemse • Percy Williams|
- "Leopards". sarugby.net. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Leopards become first black-owned rugby franchise in SA". Mail & Guardian Online. 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- "2016 NWU Pukke Varsity Cup season". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 26 January 2016.