Western Province ended a three-game Currie Cup losing run on Saturday with a comprehensive 59-17 effort too much for the Leopards at Newlands.
Province added five tries to a four-score first-half blitz to round off their bonus-point victory which they thoroughly deserved after a hat-trick of defeats in recent weeks.
WP's early indiscretions at the breakdowns did not escape the attention of referee Pro Legoete who sin-binned number eight Duane Vermeulen in the third minute. He also awarded the Leopards two penalties in the first seven minutes of play, one of which fly-half Clayton Durand struck through the posts to secure an early 3-0 for the visiting Leopards.
But when Vermeulen returned, Province struck up cohesion and rookie fly-half Lionel Cronje led the fightback with an excellent display in the pivot position.
The line-outs in the subsequent passage of play proved an ideal platform for Province to attack the opposition tryline and, after hooker Deon Fourie made the initial breakthrough in the 14th minute, the setpiece was again used effectively seven minutes later, with Francois Louw the scorer this time. Cronje was on target with both conversions.
While the Leopards were still recovering from this setback, Province ran them ragged and twice crossed for tries in the space of six minutes to claim a bonus point ahead of the break. Cronje was on target with one conversion attempt.
Five minutes ahead of the break, the Leopards punished a lapse of concentration by Province and flanker Reginald Kember ran in unchallenged from 30 metres out to score his side's first try, after which Durand added the conversion.
On the stroke of halftime, the Leopards were pressing hard for a second try but they conceded a turnover a fraction away from the Province tryline and, as a result, surrendered the advantage. The sides changed ends with a 26-10 scoreline, which suggested the match was over as a contest.
Just after play resumed, a lineout close to the Leopards' tryline again proved an ideal platform and this time Louw rounded off the driving maul. Cronje's conversion opened up a 23-point lead.
The Leopards' response was immediate and telling, as their scrum-half Theo van Wyk scooped on a stray pass in the Province backline to hare through from 35 metres out for a converted try.
But the Leopards were put on the backfoot for the rest of the match as Province added four more tries in a 20-minute onslaught.
The tryscorers were scrum-half Dewaldt Duvenhage, substitute flank Yaya Hartzenburg, lock Anton van Zyl and Juan de Jongh. Substitute fly-half Willem de Waal converted three times for a 59-17 lead. There were more points on offer for Province in the dying stages of the match but handling errors denied them additional tries.
For Western Province:
Tries: Van Zyl, Louw 2, Koster, Hartzenberg, Harris, Fourie, Duvenage, De Jongh
Cons: Cronje 4, De Waal 3
For the Leopards:
Tries: Van Wyk, Kember
Cons: Durand 2
Western Province: 15 Conrad Hoffmann, 14 Conrad Jantjes, 13 Juan De Jongh, 12 Jean De Villiers, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Koster, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (Captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 JC Kritzinger, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Brok Harris, 19 De Kock Steenkamp, 20 Yaya Hartzenberg, 21 Willem De Waal, 22 Paul Bosch.
The Leopards:15 Danie Dames, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Jovan Bowles, 12 Cecil Dumond, 11 Dumisani Matyeshana, 10 Clayton Durand, 9 Theo van Wyk, 8 Riaan Swanepoel, 7 RW Kember, 6 Wilhelm Koch (c), 5 Anthonie Gronum, 4 Brad Mockford, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Os van der Walt, 17 Gavin Williamson, 18 Draad Linde, 19 Christo van Niekerk, 20 Worsie Kotzé, 21 Neill Jacobs, 22 Kempie Rautenbach.
Referee: Sindile Mayende