Hosts DHL Western Province were inspired by their debutants as the beat the visiting Toyota Free State XV 28-15 (halftime 11-10) at City Park in Cape Town on Saturday.
With Gary van Aswegen, Kyle Lombard and Johnny Kotze all lost to injury there was a brand new look to the Western Province midfield.
Kurt Coleman, who had impressed the previous week with his second-half cameo, started at flyhalf with new signing Robert du Preez and partnering Huw Jones in the midfield.
Both Du Preez and Jones were fresh from the Varsity Cup and were looking to make the step up to senior provincial rugby.
For the visitors the big change was the one which saw Heinrich Brussow play at eightman in his first game back from his stint in Japan with the Docomo Red Hurricanes.
The big question was always going to be how his fitness would hold up after being side-lined for three months with a toe injury picked up in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Jones had a dream start to his debut and scored the opening try of the match with Coleman unable to add the conversion.
Flyhalf Riaan Smit got the Free State XV on the board with a penalty thereafter before his halfback partner Renier Botha grabbed the lead.
The try and a successful conversion by Smit gave the Free State XV the lead at 10-5 going into the last period of the half.
Two penalties by Coleman saw the hosts go into the break leading narrowly at 11-10.
The game was still there for the taking and both teams knew that they would have to play for the full 80 minutes to seize the victory.
Prop Kevin Stevens grabbed the lead back for his team when he barged over the tryline virtually just after the break.
With Smit crucially not being successful with his conversion attempt the lead on was 15-11 for the visitors from Bloemfontein.
WP turned it on in a two-try blitz as Du Preez and winger Devon Williams both scored in quick succession.
Du Preez joined Jones as a try scoring debutant and the flyer Williams scored a try for the amazing ninth time this season to seal the victory.
Coleman had converted both tries and further extended the lead with late penalty.
The win sees Western Province guarantee themselves a place in the quarterfinals and the chance to finish second if they beat the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George next week.
The Free State XV, also guaranteed of a place in the business end of the competition, return home to Bloemfontein and will look for a maximum haul against the Tusker Simba XV as they have an outside chance of finishing in the top two of the South Section.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Huw Jones, Robert du Preez, Devon Williams. Conversions: Kurt Coleman (2). Penalties: Coleman (3).
Toyota Free State XV: Tries: Renier Botha, Kevin Stevens. Conversion: Riaan Smit. Penalty: Smit.