With the unbeaten Toyota Cheetahs enjoying a bye, the defending champions grabbed the lead courtesy of six-try triumph to move to 30 points on the log. They are now four points clear of the Free Staters, who have played one less game than the Vodacom Bulls' seven.

The clash exploded into a try-scoring festival in the second half as both teams turned on the style with some good attacking rugby.

This was after the hosts led by only 17-15 at the break after scoring two converted tries and a penalty goal. In reply, the visiting side from Cape Town also scored twice, as well as one conversion and a penalty goal.

However, Gert Smal's team eventually clinched the result via five tries plus a late penalty try, five conversions and a penalty goal, while DHL WP managed to score five tries, three conversions and a penalty.

After a slow start during which the hosts played all the rugby but failed to trouble the scorers, Morne Steyn, the Vodacom Bulls' evergreen former Springbok flyhalf, finally got his side on the scoreboard with a trademark penalty goal.

But the Capetonians replied shortly thereafter through hooker JJ Kotze, who was the recipient of a five pointer following an excellent maul.

The men from Pretoria replied immediately and in almost identical fashion, which saw prop Robert Hunt go over at the opposite side. Steyn kicked his side into a five point lead when he easily added the extras (10-5).

Poor discipline then handed the home side their second try when DHL WP inside centre Cornel Smith was yellow carded for a repeated team offence. From the resultant tap-penalty, home scrumhalf Keagan Johannes darted over.

Although they were one man short as a result of the yellow card, Province's persistence paid off as they also scored their second try through flank Marcel Theunissen. Tim Swiel (flyhalf) managed to succeed with the conversion and straight forward penalty goal on the halftime hooter to take the score to 17-15.

After the break, wing David Kriel added the Vodacom Bulls' third and fourth tries, and DHL WP's Smit atoned for his yellow card when he ran a superb inside line to take a pass as he raced through for another try by the visiting side.

The Vodacom Bulls' replacement prop Lizo Gqoboka joined in on the try-scoring act with his late effort, before Tristan Leyds (fullback) followed suit for Province with an even later acrobatic effort in the corner, while Angelo Davids also got in on the act for the visitors.

However, by that time, a penalty try (and a third WP yellow card) had all but sealed the win for the hosts.


Vodacom Bulls 45 (17) - Tries: Robert Hunt, Keagan Johannes, David Kriel (2), Lizo Gqoboka, Penalty try. Conversions: Morne Steyn (5). Penalty goal: Steyn.

DHL Western Province 34 (15) - Tries: JJ Kotze, Marcel Theunissen, Cornel Smit, Tristan Leyds, Angelo Davids. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2), Kade Wolhuter. Penalty goal: Swiel.