Johannesburg - The Free State XV ran in eight tries to record a convincing 54-17 win over the Border Bulldogs in a Vodacom Cup fixture played in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The home side dominated affairs at the Free State Stadium from the start and were dominant in all facets of the game.
They led 28-0 at the break.
The Bulldogs could easily have thrown in the towel when replacement lock Peet Coetzee dotted down in the 56th minute to register a half century for the Free State XV.
But they put up a great fight in the last quarter of the match, running the ball instead of kicking it away from set and broken play as they had done until then.
This approach produced three tries for them, one by impressive left wing Sipho Nofemele, whereas the ploy of kicking for the corners didn't pay off as the home forwards were solid throughout in the lineouts.
The Free State XV's attacking play often had the Bulldogs' defence in shambles, but handling errors by the men in orange cost them points.
Centre Nico Lee and flyhalf Riaan Smit were the two standout players for the home side and it was a joy to see them with ball in hand. Both scored tries where they had plenty to do to finish them off.
Smit had an outstanding day with the boot, slotting seven conversions.
Free State XV: Tries: Waltie Vermeulen, Neil Claassen, Wayven Smith, Nico Lee, Peet Coetzee (2), Riaan Smit, Luke Cyster. Conversions: Riaan Smit (7).
Border Bulldogs: Tries: Sipho Nofemele, Wandile Putuma, Lundi Ralarala. Conversion: Makazole Mampimpi.