DHL Western Province ensured they will have home advantage in next week’s Vodacom Cup quarterfinals after scoring late to claim a narrow
41-37 (halftime 24-17) victory over the Toyota Free State XV in their South Section encounter at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.
Berton Klaasen twice crossed the whitewash for the Capetonians, who outscored their hosts by five tries to four in Bloemfontein, including one five minutes from the end by replacement centre Kobus van Wyk when his team was trailing by three.
Flyhalf Kurt Coleman added the conversion with the visitors holding on for a win that saw them end second on the log.
They will now play GWK Griquas in the last eight, while Free State were knocked out of the tournament after ending fifth.
The Cheetahs had begun the game with plenty of zeal and were ahead in the opening minute when Boom Prinsloo scored the first of two tries.
Klaasen cancelled out that opening score within 10 minutes, before a Riaan Smit penalty put the hosts back in front.
Converted scores by Cheslin Kolbe and Klaasen then helped the visitors build a decent lead by the half-hour mark, although Teboho Mohoje cut the gap to four shortly before the interval.
Coleman, who kicked 16 points in total, ensured there was still a seven point lead by the break after his first penalty.
After the restart, Michael van der Spuy and Tewis de Bruyn exchanged tries, while Prinsloo’s second time crossing the whitewash drew the scores level after 52 minutes.
Two Nico Scheepers penalties sandwiched one from Coleman to leave the hosts with a three point lead heading into the final five minutes, before Van Wyk had the final say as the visitors held on.
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Boom Prinsloo (2), Teboho Mohoje, Tewis de Bruyn. Conversions: Riaan Smit (3), Nico Scheepers.
Penalties: Smit, Scheepers (2).
DHL Western Province – Tries: Berton Klaasen (2), Cheslin Kolbe, Michael van der Spuy, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Kurt Coleman (5).
Penalties: Coleman (2).