DHL Western Province maintained their pressure near the summit of the log with a 45-17 (halftime 21-7) bonus-point victory over the SWD Eagles at City Park in Cape Town on Saturday.
Western Province, who were sitting third before kick-off, outscored the visitors with six tries to two, moved into second position on the log with their 10th victory in 11 starts, maintaining the pressure on log-leaders GWK Griquas.
Despite a tense opening period, it was the home side who drew first blood with a try under the poles by outside centre Johnny Kotze which flyhalf Robert du Preez converted.
Du Preez was called into action shortly afterwards for another conversion after hooker Chad Solomon rumbled over the line after a driving maul from the Province forwards.
The Eagles found some composure and got themselves into the game when wing Daniel Roberts burst over for the visitors’ opening try which was converted by fullback Jacquin Jansen.
But the home side rounded off a good first half when left wing Sibahle Maxwane rounded off an excellent counter-attack on the stroke of half time, which was started by right wing EW Viljoen. Du Preez converted to give WP a 21-7 lead at the break.
The Eagles made a better start to the second stanza and were first to score through replacement hooker, Karl Haupt. Jansen converted to bring the Eagles to within seven points of their hosts. Both sides traded penalties with Du Preez extending the lead to 10 points before Jansen replied with a long-range effort.
Inside centre Tim Whitehead landed the bonus-point try for Province after a great offload from Du Preez, who then slotted the conversion to give the hosts a 14-point advantage.
Another powerful maul from the Province forwards resulted in their fifth try with flanker Luke Stringer standing up with the ball.
Captain and lock Chris van Zyl then put the cherry on the top with an intercept try to round off a cold, but perfect afternoon for coach John Dobson’s men with Du Preez finishing off a perfect day with the boot.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Johnny Kotze, Chad Solomon, Sibahle Maxwane, Tim Whitehead, Luke Stringer, Chris van Zyl; Conversions: Robert du Preez (6); Penalty: Du Preez.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Daniel Roberts, Kurt Haupt; Conversions: Jacquin Jansen (2); Penalty: Jansen.