WP see off Golden Lions
Western Province moved to the top of the Currie Cup table after claiming a 36-23 victory over the Golden Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.
A Michael Rhodes try in injury time secured the hosts a crucial bonus-point which takes them above the Sharks in the standings.
Rhodes crashed over from close quarters, after the ball went through several pairs of hands close to the try-line, and the win will give WP plenty of confidence as they head to Durban to face the Sharks in their final league match next weekend.
The Lions made a better start to the match and raced into a 6-0 lead, inside the opening 10 minutes, thanks to penalties by Marnitz Boshoff.
The visitors continued holding the upper-hand, as they spent most of this period camped inside the home side's half, but they couldn't convert their dominance into points.
WP absorbed the early pressure but were level by the 25th minute after Demetri Catrakilis slotted two penalties within five minutes of each other.
Boshoff struck back with a penalty, two minutes later, after WP were pinned for their third breakdown penalty, to restore the visitors' lead.
WP then stepped up a level and struck back with a superb team try in the 34th minute. Damian de Allende got his name on to the score-sheet but Scara Ntubeni, Deon Fourie, Cheslin Kolbe and Michael van der Spuy all did their bit in the build-up before the big inside centre rounded off in the left-hand corner.
And on the stroke of half-time Fourie scored the hosts' second try when he burrowed his way over from close quarters after WP launched an attack at a scrum on the Lions' five-metre line.
Catrakilis converted both tries to give WP an 18-9 lead at the change-over and he added another three-pointer, shortly after the restart, after the Lions were pinned for a scrum infringement.
WP then scored their third try when Gerhard van den Heever brushed off two defenders before crashing over, after running onto a pass from Gio Aplon inside the Lions' 22.
The Lions failed to surrender and struck back with a try from Derrick Minnie in the 56th minute. The Lions launched a driving maul from a line-out, on the edge of WP's 22, and Minnie powered his way over the line despite the attentions of several defenders.
The visitors thought they had scored another try when Ruan Dreyer crashed over at a ruck, but his effort was disallowed after the television match official ruled that he had planted the ball short of the line.
It was double delight for Minnie, five minutes later, when he scored another try from a drive off a line-out and Boshoff added the extras to make the score 28-23.
WP fought back, and Kurt Coleman added a penalty to give the hosts an eight-point lead but they were dealt a blow when Scara Ntubeni was given a yellow card when he failed to roll away at a ruck in the 72nd minute.
The Lions tried desperately to make their numerical advantage count by hammering away at the hosts' try-line but WP's defence kept them out with solid defence.
WP were soon on the attack, inside the Lions' 22, with Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr and De Allende prominent ball carriers, before Nic Groom spun the ball wide for Rhodes' heroic effort which secured the bonus-point try.
For Western Province:
Tries: De Allende, Fourie, Van den Heever, Rhodes
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 3, Coleman
Yellow card: Ntubeni (73rd minute, professional foul)
For Golden Lions:
Try: Minnie 2
Cons: Boshoff 2
Pens: Boshoff 3
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (capt), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Schalk Burger, 19 Josh Katzen, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Ryan Nell.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Chrysander Botha, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Lionel Cronje, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (capt), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Willie Britz, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Warwick Tecklenberg, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Kobus de Kock, 22 Deon Helberg.
Referee: Stuart Berry