Cape Town - The Blue Bulls kept their playoff hopes alive after defeating the Pumas in their Currie Cup encounter at the Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening.
The Blue Bulls won 52-32, after leading 26-13 at half-time.
The home side outscored the Pumas in eight tries to four, although they face an anxious wait to see if they qualify for the semi-finals as there are two more matches to be played on Saturday which will determine which sides qualify for the tournament's knockout rounds.
The opening exchanges of this encounter were evenly contested although the Pumas made the initial breakthrough courtesy of a Jannie Stander try from close quarters in the eighth minute.
It did not take long for the home side to respond, and they did it in style via an Edgar Marutlulle try shortly afterwards.
This, after Warrick Gelant joined the line before throwing a long pass to Mautlulle, who powered his way through an attempted tackle before diving over in the right-hand corner.
Kobus Marais added a penalty in the 19th minute for the Pumas, before the Bulls regained the lead via an Ivan van Zyl try after Pierre Schoeman impressed in the build-up.
Marais slotted another penalty on the half-hour mark which meant the Bulls held a slender 14-13 lead but the home side finished the half stronger and were rewarded when Gelant and Travis Ismaiel scored tries just before half-time.
Gelant's five-pointer was a superb individual effort where he stabbed a grubber kick through which he regathered before crossing the whitewash.
The Blue Bulls continued to dominate after the restart and extended their lead via tries from Marco van Staden and Burger Odendaal before Willie Engelbrecht scored the Pumas' second try on the hour-mark.
That did not unsettle the Bulls, however, and two minutes later Ismaiel showed great leg-drive and determination before scoring his second try.
Three minutes later, JT Jackson secured the result for the hosts when he rounded off a superb move which also brought up a half-century of points for his side.
To their credit, the Pumas continued to attack and they were rewarded with two late tries from Selom Gavor and Frankie Herne.
This win for John Mitchell's charges sees them move up to third in the Currie Cup standings with 32 points in their 12 matches.
However, it's the end of the road for the Pumas as they finished sixth on the log with 27 points.
Saturday's matches will see the Sharks host Western Province at Kings Park (15:00) after which the Golden Lions will take on the Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park (17:15).
Tries: Marutlulle, Van Zyl, Ismaiel (2), Gelant, Van Staden, Odendaal, Jackson
Conversions: Boshoff (6)
Tries: Stander, Engelbrecht, Gavor, Herne
Conversions: Marais (3)
Penalties: Marais (2)
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (captain), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Jano Venter, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Travis Ismaiel
15 Gerrit Smit, 14 Selom Gavor, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Ruwellyn Isbel, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jannie Stander, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Khwezi Mona
Substitutes: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Gerrie Labuschagne