Late tries by Johann Sadie and JJ Engelbrecht proved decisive as Western Province held on to record a narrow 41-35 victory over Griquas in their Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Saturday.
The men from Cape Town were battered during the opening 20 minutes, slipping 15-0 behind, but showed excellent character to outscore the hosts by seven tries to five.
In the end, Allister Coetzee’s team just had too much for their opponents after their 26-26 draw earlier in the season.
Griquas went ahead the first time they strung together a decent attack, recycling quickly through six phases and allowing Rudi Vogt to dot down in the sixth minute.
The same player missed the conversion, but extended the lead moments later when the Capetonians were penalised for not rolling away.
After a brief period of respite with the ball at the other end, Riaan Viljoen led a swift counterattack, with the ball spread wide to Ryno Barnes, who in turn found Davon Raubenheimer on the inside as he ran in under the post.
Vogt converted giving Griquas a 15-0 lead in less than 20 minutes.
Province finally got onto the board in the 26th minute when hooker and captain Tiaan Liebenberg bravely opted to set up a line-out instead of taking the three points with a penalty.
He was rewarded with some good momentum which led to him bundling his way over.
Demetri Catrakilis, who missed an earlier penalty, found his range this time, and when Nick Koster saw a gap and cut through it eight minutes from the break for another converted try, the deficit was slashed to just a point at 51-14.
Vogt then missed a straightforward penalty, before Sadie’s pace combined with good interplay between Catrakilis and Dewaldt Duvenage allowed the scrumhalf to run in easily under the post.
The conversion completed the full complement of points and put Province in front for the first time as they headed into the break 21-15 ahead.
Five minutes after the restart, Conrad Jantjes’ burst of pace down the left caught out the hosts as he scored the bonus point try extending Province’s lead to 26-15.
Raubenheimer responded with a fine pushover try after a penalty lineout, but Griquas’ defensive frailties continued to be exposed as Engelbrecht ran in almost a replica of the previous try on the left wing (31-22).
To their credit, however, they continued to plug away and Vogt was the beneficiary from another solid attacking maul, although he missed the conversion leaving the gap at four points with 20 minutes to play.
Marnus Schoeman gave them some hope, but Engelbrecht and Sadie scored in the last 10 minutes to secure the win.
Griquas: Tries: Rudi Vogt (2), Davon Raubenheimer (2), Marnus Schoeman Conversions: Rudi Vogt (2) Penalties: Vogt, Earl Rose.
Western Province: Tries: Tiaan Liebenberg, Nick Koster, Dewaldt Duvenage, Conrad Jantjes, JJ Engelbrecht (2), Johann Sadie. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3). — Sapa