Nelspruit - It was a workmanlike performance from Western Province in Nelspruit on Friday night, but a pleasing one for coach Allister Coetzee as the Currie Cup pace-setters claimed a four-try bonus point away from home.
WP made it seven wins from eight starts as they came away from Mbombela Stadium with a 37-23 victory over the Pumas, entrenching their spot at the top of the log in the process.
"It was a workmanlike performance, but we’re happy to come away with a full-house of five points," coach Coetzee told WP's official website.
"It was a big improvement on last weekend.
"We came out after half-time and built on our lead, only for a few injuries to disrupt our rhythm.
"But the guys showed great character to stay ahead with the home team – and their crowd – throwing everything at us.
"We not only absorbed the pressure but managed to finish strongly too with a bonus point."
Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis weighed in with 17 points from his boot, not missing a shot at goal on the night, whilst the WP tries were scored by No.8 Nizaam Carr (two), flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe and replacement centre Michael van der Spuy.
On a disappointing note, in-form lock Ruan Botha suffered a high ankle injury.
A full diagnosis on his injury will be released on Monday.
Elusive fullback Cheslin Kolbe took knock to the back, whilst Michael van der Spuy – who had replaced Kolbe in the second half – suffered a knock to the hip in the act of scoring his try early in the second half.
"The injuries, like I said, disrupted us quite a bit," Coetzee concluded.
"We lost Ruan Botha early on (in the 14th minute).
"Then, later on, when Cheslin didn’t come out after half-time we moved Jaco Taute to fullback.
"Then, when Mikey (van der Spuy) took a bang we had to bring on Kurt Coleman at fullback and move Jaco back to centre.
"It’s pleasing, however, how the guys managed to shrug off those disruptions and play on – in the process getting an away win against a previously unbeaten home side and claiming the bonus point too.”
Friday night’s victory, WP’s seventh of their Currie Cup campaign, has seen them take a step closer to a second successive home semi-final, as they currently sit on 34 log points from eight games.