Western Province maintained their grip on second place in the Absa Currie Cup as their daring rugby carried them to a 37-3, bonus point victory over the Platinum Leopards at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday night.
The outgunned Leopards battled valiantly and held Western Province to just a 13-3 lead at half-time, but the visitors opened the floodgates after the break to score three more tries and claim the bonus point.
The much-improved Western Province tight five provided the foundation for the men behind them to have their fun, with the loose trio of Luke Watson, Duane Vermuelen and Francois Louw dominating the breakdowns to provide plenty of good ball.
The opening stalemate lasted for just nine minutes before fullback Joe Pietersen, who constantly teased the Leopards defence with his running from the back, scored after collecting a long pass from flyhalf Peter Grant after a solid scrum, stepping inside and then curving away for the line.
Pietersen converted but Western Province struggled to get into gear for the rest of the half and the Leopards would have cancelled out the visitors’ lead had flyhalf Cecil Dumond shown better form with the boot.
Dumond missed penalties in the 11th and 15th minutes, before eventually putting the home side on the board in the 18th minute.
Two minutes later, though, the Leopards were trapped lurking offsides as they tried to keep an eye on the dashing Pietersen and his backline colleagues, the fullback kicking the penalty.
Pietersen added another penalty six minutes from half-time, but Leopards wing Danie Dames would have the last word of the first half as he showed excellent pace to deny wing Tonderai Chavhanga, supremely quick himself, a try after he had chased down and grubbered a clearance kick by Pietersen.
Western Province would play the territory game and keep the ball for a bit longer with the forwards to telling effect after the break, with eighthman Watson scoring two tries in six minutes, both of them coming from rolling mauls.
Pietersen was on target with both conversions and Province had made sure of four points with a 27-3 lead.
The bonus point was still in doubt, however, and they only clinched it in the last eight minutes as centre Juan de Jongh broke the line to score, followed shortly thereafter by wing Gio Aplon, who burst between two defenders and streaked away for the try.
The five log points gained keeps Western Province well on track for a home semi-final.
Platinum Leopards – Penalty: Cecil Dumond.
Western Province – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Luke Watson (2), Juan de Jongh, Gio Aplon. Conversions: Pietersen (3). Penalties: Pietersen (2).Tweet