Western Province were made to work hard before securing a 33-15 victory over bottom-placed Griquas at Newlands on Saturday.
The result means the champions climbed into the top three of the Currie Cup standings but their overall performance left a lot to be desired and they had to dig deep before securing victory.
Griquas made life difficult for the home side and although they were competitive for large periods, they ran out of gas during the game's latter stages.
They matched their hosts in most departments, thwarting an error-strewn WP side with a solid defensive effort, before three late tries from Rynardt Elstadt, Jaco Taute and Robert du Preez added some respectability to the score for the victors.
The opening quarter was a dour affair, characterised by a plethora of unforced errors from both sides. Clinton Swart opened the scoring from the kicking tee in the 12th minute before Kurt Coleman drew the hosts level with a penalty 10 minutes later.
WP found the going tough as they battled to breach the visitors' defence but they eventually got a lucky break when Carel Greeff was sin binned for a high tackle on Nizaam Carr.
The hosts added their first try shortly afterwards, when Nic Groom went over in the left-hand corner, after Cheslin Kolbe and Jaco Taute laid the groundwork in the build-up.
Kurt Coleman added the extras before two further penalties from Swart narrowed the gap to a point before Coleman succeeded with another three-pointer which gave his side a 13-9 lead at te break.
Swart added another penalty shortly after the restart but their was little enterprising play from either side for the next 15 minutes.
The visitors then took a 15-13 lead, when Swart slotted his fifth penalty in the 57th minute, but they failed to kick on and WP stepped up a gear in their quest for victory.
Griquas were reduced to 14 men for the second time five minutes later, when Jaco Nepgen was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, and WP made them pay with those three tries which also secured them a bonus-point.
For Western Province:
Tries: Groom, Esltadt, Taute, Du Preez
Cons: Coleman 2
Pens: Coleman 3
Pens: Swart 5
Yellow cards: Greeff, Nepgen
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr (c), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Dillyn Leyds.
Griquas: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 RJ Liebenberg, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jaco Nepgen, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 19 Jonathan Adendorf, 20 Leon Karemaker, 21 Gouws Prinsloo, 22 Jacquin Jansen
Referee: Jaco van Heerden