Western Province captain Deon Fourie hailed his side's discipline after they secured their place in the Currie Cup final with a 33-16 victory over the Golden Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.
Despite having hooker Scarra Ntubeni sent to the sin bin late in the match for a dangerous tackle, Fourie identified his side's improved discipline and patience when under severe pressure from the Lions in the first half - especially in the scrums - as the main reason for their victory.
The defending champions have been criticised in the past for losing crucial play-off matches.
But they held their nerve against a well-drilled Lions side and thanks to first-half tries from Gio Aplon and Demetri Catrakilis, and accurate goal-kicking from the latter and replacement fly-half Kurt Coleman, they will host the Sharks at Newlands next weekend in a repeat of last year's final.
"We stayed disciplined in our structure and we believed if we play like we must play, the points will come," said Fourie after the semi-final.
"We showed today that if we do what is expected of us the points will come and I'm very happy in that regard.
"We must just build on that because next weekend will be like a Test match and you can't make mistakes."
Fourie admitted that the Lions had them under the cosh in the scrums during the opening half but was pleased with the way his front-row of Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff and Pat Cilliers stood up to the challenge.
"They put us on the back-foot in the scrums, especially CJ (Van der Linde) who is a veteran, who used all his experience in the beginning," he added.
"But the guys showed maturity which was a good thing to see from a young front row and that's a big positive for us."
WP coach Allister Coetzee echoed Fourie's sentiments.
"We were unsettled in the early scrums as they (the Lions) got the hit going and worked nicely through that," he said.
"But fortunately we got it right in the end."
Coetzee feels his side can still improve ahead of the final.
"There's still a lot of work to be done," he added.
"It's not going to be easy. It's still a play-off game It's a final and we've got to get it right in terms of accuracy and discipline."
Lions skipper Derick Minnie felt his side let themselves down by not taking advantage of their opportunities.
"This is a very good Province side but we didn't do what we were supposed and couldn't finish in the attacking half and that cost us the game," he said.
The Johannesburg-based outfit's coach Johan Ackermann believes his side could have done much better but praised them for Saturday's performance and their efforts throughout the season.
"We really had (great) opportunities in that first half, and it would have been interesting if we could have finished it and for the first time put real pressure on Province," he said.
"But then we had those soft moments, where we missed tackles and they got their momentum back.
"So we had to play catch-up and against Province that's always going to be tough and in the second half they just built on their lead with those penalties.
"It was a bridge to far for us but I'm proud of the guys for the way they fought in this match and during the year and I'm very proud of the guys."
By David Skippers