The SWD Eagles shocked DHL Western Province in the two sides’ Vodacom Cup encounter, beating the visitors 23-14 at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday evening.
Province were in desperate need of a victory to ensure that they host a quarterfinal, but the loss to the Eagles means that the Toyota Free State XV will play host next weekend if they can achieve the maximum points in their game against the Tusker Tsimba XV in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Eagles and Province both scored twice in the encounter and in the end it was the kicking boot of Eagles flyhalf Karlo Aspeling that sunk the visitors.
The latter was on song with all his kicks at goal, slotting two conversions and three penalties in the end to sent Western Province home empty handed.
Aspeling opened the Eagles’ account in the 18th minute with a penalty goal after both the hosts and Province couldn’t find any space in the minutes leading up to the kick.
Aspeling’s attempt sparked the hosts to play more attacking rugby and they reaped the rewards when centre Daniel Roberts went over shortly thereafter for a converted try.
SWD kept calm when it mattered and the result was no penalty attempts for Province in the first half, leaving them to trail 10-0 at halftime.
The Eagles, however, picked up the second half where they left off the first and winger Alshaun Bock scored with Aspeling converting to stun the visitors to a deficit of 17 points.
Province made no less than four tactical substitutions in a window of four minutes and the visitors reaped the rewards when flyhalf Gary van Aswegen scored and centre Robert du Preez converted to finally get Province on the scoreboard.
But Aspeling was on song with his kicking boot and slotted another penalty near the end to put the result beyond doubt.
SWD were left with 14 men in the last ten minutes after Quinten Petzer was yellow carded, and Province used the man over to put their captain Rohan Kitshoff away one minute from fulltime.
Replacement Freddie Muller converted, but it was too little too late for the visitors.
SWD Eagles 23 (10): Tries: Daniel Roberts, Alshaun Bock. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (2). Penalties: Karlo Aspeling (3).
DHL Western Province 14 (0): Tries: Gary van Aswegen, Rohan Kitshoff. Conversions: Robert du Preez, Freddie Muller.