Cape Town - Western Province produced a fine display of running rugby in their six-try 45-21 win over Griquas in their Currie Cup match at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
The crowd of just under 10 000 rejoiced as the match produced seven tries, five of which were scored in the first half.
Both sides made several handling errors, and WP probably left another four tries out on the field.
Given the favourable underfoot conditions at the kick-off there was every prospect of the teams running the ball at every opportunity and that was very much the order of the day in the first half.
WP needed only three minutes at the start to take play up to the Griquas 22m line and came good when they ran in a tap-penalty for fullback Joe Pietersen to score. Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis goaled the conversion from the touchline to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
It took Griquas some time to wrest the initiative and when they did they cracked the Province midfield defence nine minutes later for flanker Marnus Schoeman to run in unchallenged from 25m out. Flyhalf Francois Brummer converted to level the scores at 7-all.
In the next 20 minutes, WP took the match by the scruff of the neck and ran three in three unanswered tries to record a rare first-half bonus point. The three-try burst followed concerted Province pressure, both on defence and attack.
Wing Gerhard van den Heever and centre Marcel Brache scored after interceptions, and flanker Deon Fourie dotted down after a rolling maul.
Catrakilis was in splendid form with the boot, converting all three tries from the touchline to crown the 21-point burst.
In between Van den Heever and Brache's try Pietersen scored a long-range penalty, to help WP secure a commanding 31-7 lead at the break.
Neither team managed to strike a measure of rhythm in early second-half play, especially as the defence was considerably tighter on both sides.
Griquas held a territorial advantage and managed several sorties into the WP 22m area where they managed one particularly good scrum in the 53rd minute which resulted in a penalty try. Brummer converted to reduce the deficit 31-14.
WP managed to put the setback behind them and despite several substitutions their game started to flow again and their efforts were rewarded when the hardworking hooker Scarra Ntubeni snatched up the ball from broken play, ran in from 25m out and dotted down in the corner. Again Catrakilis converted splendidly (38-14).
This advance seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Griquas challenge and they were never in the game again. Instead WP kept probing away with strong ball-in-hand runs and grubber kicks through the opposition defence.
Most of their raids into the Griquas 22m area looked promising but only one try emerged, thanks to fine finishing by No 8 Jebb Sinclair.
Catrakilis added the conversion to round off WP's scoring in the match.
Wing Rocco Jansen scored a late converted try to give the visitor a sniff of a bonus point but they eventually ran out of time.
Ntubeni was named Man-of-the-Match.
Tries: Joe Pietersen, Gerhard van den Heever, Marcel Brache, Deon Fourie, Scarra Ntubeni, Jebb Sinclair.
Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (6). Penalty: Pietersen.
Tries: Marnus Schoeman, penalty try, Rocco Jansen
Conversions: Francois Brummer (3).
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Helmut Lehmann, 19 JJ Gagiano, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen
22 Damian de Allende
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Richard Lawson 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Wesley Wilkins, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts
Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dobson, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Luzuko Vulindlu