Cape Town - The Free State Cheetahs moved up to second in the Currie Cup standings after they beat the Pumas 43-37 in an entertaining clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
The Cheetahs outscored their hosts by six tries to four in a game that visitors had to dig deep to clinch maximum points.
The team from Bloemfontein were on the board early as Benhard Janse van Rensburg went over the tryline in the fourth minute.
The home side hit back with three tries though as outside centre Alwayno Visagie crossed the line twice and Devon Williams went over as the Pumas raced into a 22-7 lead.
Cheetahs full-back Clayton Blommetjies went over under the poles to reduce the deficit but the hosts took a 22-17 lead into the half-time interval.
The visitors came out firing after the break and went over for three five-pointers within the first ten minutes of the restart.
Ruan Pienaar, Jasper Wiese and Janse van Rensburg all scored as the Cheetahs looked to be running away from this year's bottom-placed side in the competition.
The Pumas though fought back and Jeandre Rudolph went over but they were immediately snuffed out as Cheetahs fly-half Louis Fouche responded with a try of his own with 15 minutes of the contest still remaining.
The Cheetahs number ten had a good outing as he slotted five conversions and penalty to go with his try to finsh the game with 18 points.
Visagie crossed the whitewash late in the game to complete his hat-trick but it was to little too late for the beaten Pumas.
Pumas 37 (22)
Tries: Alwayno Visagie (3), Devon Williams, Jeandre Rudolph
Conversions: Chris Smith (2)
Penalties: Smith (2)
Cheetahs 43 (17)
Tries: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2), Clayton Blommetjies, Ruan Pienaar, Jasper Wiese, KLouis Fouche
Conversions: Louis Fouche (5)
Penalties: Fouche (2)