Cape Town - Western Province got their Currie Cup campaign back on track when they claimed a 34-19 win over the Pumas in Cape Town on Saturday.
Despite the scoreline, the home side had to dig deep for this victory as the Pumas led 12-10 at half-time.
The home side got the rub of the green in the end and eventually outscored the Pumas six tries to three with four of those scored during the second half.
This was largely due to them capitalising on their numerous scoring opportunities and almost 70 percent possession, something which they failed to do in the first 40.
WP's huge possession statistics paid off early on. In the 8th minute, Seabelo Senatla made up for a try-squandering knock-on with a try. Outside centre EW Viljoen did well to draw in defenders with a few dummy passes before offloading in the tackle to Senaltla, who crossed for the opening try. Damien Willemse missed his conversion attempt from wide right.
The next 25 minutes was characterised by plenty of unforced errors from WP but despite continuing to hold the upper-hand, they could not convert their dominance into points.
That proved costly as a penalty resulting from a WP player not rolling away resulted in Stephan Greef scoring from an impressive line-out maul after 32 minutes. Kobus Marais was off target with the conversion from close to the touchline which meant the sides were deadlocked at 5-5.
The Pumas took the lead against the run of play when from a quick line-out in the 38th minute, Devon Williams traded passes with Sias Ebersohn, before Williams sprinted down the right-hand touchline and soon found himself inside WP's 22. Williams' attempted pass bounced back into his arms off of a WP player before he dotted down. Marais added the extras which meant the visitors led 12-5.
Just before half-time, WP went on the attack from a line-out on the visitors' five-metre line. A few pick up-and-goes followed before the ball went wide to SP Marais. He finally broke the Pumas' impressive defence by busting through two tackles to score in the right corner.
The Pumas came out firing in the second half. Shortly after the restart, reserve back Jerome Pretorius scored a try which caught the home side by surprise.
In the build-up, Kobus Marais sent the ball wide to Gerrit
Smith who popped a pass inside to Pretorius. He still had work to do but did
well to hand off Nizaam Carr and Dillyn Leyds before crossing the whitewash.
Marais slotted the conversion which gave his side a 19-10 lead.
WP did not take it lying down though and upped the ante on attack. They were rewarded in the 54th minute when Bongi Mbonambi barged through two tacklers from five meters out to score after Jano Vermaak set him up with a surging run in the build-up. Three minutes later, a fantastic long pass from Willemse found Dillyn Leyds in space and he went over in the right corner. SP Marais converted from wide right which meant the Pumas held a slender two-point lead.
On the hour-mark, another powerful WP line-out drive resulted in a penalty try and Pumas reserve forward Frankie Herne was yellow carded for collapsing the maul illegally.
And after yet another line-out maul from WP, the ball went wide, eventually seeing Nizaam Carr go over for a try after he received a well-timed pass from EW Viljoen who impressed throughout.
In the 75th minute, Scarra Ntubeni was also yellow carded for a trip on Reynier van Rooyen but WP did well to hold the Pumas out for the final five minutes and secured a deserved victory.
Western Province – Tries: Seabelo Senatla, SP Marais, Bongi Mbonambi, Dillyn Leyds, Nizaam Carr, Penalty Try; Conversions: Marais
Pumas – Tries: Stephan Greeff, Devon Williams, Jerome Pretorius; Conversions: Kobus Marais (2).