DHL Western Province had to call on plenty of composure as they saw off a niggly Platinum Leopards side 47-9 (half-time 23-9) in their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday.
It's almost expected that a team will pick up five log points against the lowly Leopards, but the home side defended ferociously and put in some massive hits both above and below the belt.
The scrums were particularly feisty, with the vast majority leading to a penalty to one side or the other, but Western Province eventually had the last laugh, tighthead Brok Harris even celebrating a fantastic try on the half-time hooter.
The visitors were never threatened in the second half, but had to wait until the 73rd minute before lock De Kock Steenkamp brought home the bacon by bursting straight through from a ruck to score their fourth try .
Western Province loosehead prop Wicus Blaauw was exposed at the first scrum and conceded a penalty which Leopards flyhalf Clayton Durand converted to give the home side a 3-0 lead.
Three minutes later, excellent work by Harris at the next scrum saw Leopards loosehead BG Uys go straight to ground and Western Province flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis kicked the equalising penalty.
Durand kicked another penalty to make it 6-3 to the Leopards in the seventh minute, however, after a ball bobbled untidily out of a Western Province ruck, scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenhage flung a hospital pass to Catrakilis, who was caught in possession, forcing the forwards to infringe at the ruck.
Western Province will be heartened by the way their scrum stabilised thereafter, not losing their composure, and their opening try actually came from a fine five-metre scrum that produced good, quick ball, left wing JJ Engelbrecht knifing through in midfield to score.
Durand quickly made the deficit just one point (9-10) with a penalty, before Catrakilis, whose good boot (he succeeded with nine out of 11 kicks at goal) and strong running will be a cause of great happiness for coach Allister Coetzee, stretched the lead to 16-9 with two more penalties of his own.
The Leopards defended stoutly in the closing stages of the first half, before Harris's fine try took them into the changerooms. The 26-year-old made the initial break, hooker and captain Deon Fourie was quickly up in support, Harris then picking up the ball from the ruck and driving over.
Leopards captain and eighthman Morne Hanekom was fortunate referee Pro Legoete did not dip into his pocket for a yellow card after he threw the ball into flank Siya Kolisi's bread-basket and also infringed with a late tackle, but his indisgressions did cost three more points courtesy of another Catrakilis penalty (26-9).
Incisive centre Johann Sadie took advantage of extra numbers to score on the hour mark, and Western Province finished with a bang as Steenkamp and eighthman Nick Koster scored tries in the last seven minutes.
The beastly Leopards forwards spent much of the second half driving away at the visitors, but the Western Province defence was typically excellent.
It would have been extremely easy for Coetzee's charges to lose the plot against such feisty opposition, and Western Province will be delighted to get five points out of such a testing encounter.
Platinum Leopards - Penalties: Clayton Durand (3).
DHL Western Province - Tries: JJ Engelbrecht, Brok Harris, Johann Sadie, De Kock Steenkamp, Nick Koster. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (5). Penalties: Catrakilis (4).