It was another impressive bonus point win for the visitors from Cape Town, after they had beaten the SWD Eagles 62-7 in their opening fixture also in East London last weekend, however the performance of the hosts was a statement that they will not be a pushover in this year's competition.

DHL Western Province, champions in 2017, got off to a fast start as two penalties from flyhalf Abner van Reenen, who had another good solid game kicking at the posts. He slotted all six conversions and two penalty goals for a haul of 18 points.

Winger Nico Leonard's try and Van Reenen's two penalties had the visitors 13-0 up after 28 minutes.

Border fought back with a converted try of their own in the 32nd minute as captain and flank Billy Dutton crashed over, with flyhalf Aphiwe Stemele's conversion meaning they would head into the half time break in striking distance of their Cape Town opponents.

The second half was then a breathless affair as a further 52 points were scored by both teams, with DHL Western Province 'winning' the half 35-17 to claim a comfortable win.

First hooker Chad Solomon rumbled over for a converted try in the 45th minute, with the Bulldogs replying three minutes later with a converted score to outside centre Lonwabo Ntleki. Marco Redelinghuys got one back for the visitors, with Van Reenen's extras making it 27-14 in the 50th minute.

Four minutes later Solomon was over for his second, with van Reenen pushing them further ahead at 34-14. A 59th minute penalty to Stemele and a Bulldogs penalty try in the 64th minute then gave the hosts hope of a famous comeback at 34-24.

But two minutes later replacement Cornel Smit went over for a converted score to push the lead back to 17, giving DHL WP a nice buffer which they held until the final minute when captain Craig Barry sealed the good win with a late converted score.

The result sees DHL WP with an early lead at the top of the south pool on 10 points, followed by the Cavaliers on nine, while the Bulldogs, hold onto third ahead of the Free State XV on points difference, with both on five points.


Border Bulldogs - Tries: Billy Dutton, Lonwabo Ntleki, Penalty Try. Conversions: Aphiwe Stemele (2). Penalty: Aphiwe Stemele.

DHL Western Province - Tries: Nico Leonard, Chad Solomon (2), Marco Redelinghuys, Cornel Smit, Craig Barry. Conversions: Abner van Reenen (6). Penalties: Abner van Reenen (2).