Replacement fly-half Demetri Catrakilis slotted a 79th minute drop-goal to hand Western Province a 29-27 Currie Cup victory in a nail-biting tussle with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The result means Province conserve their unbeaten record after eight games and provisionally move back to the top of the standings.
Springbok flank Schalk Burger made his much-awaited appearance off the WP bench on the hour mark but it would be Catrakilis who stole the limelight with his late, long range effort to snatch the four points.
Two tries from Hennie Daniller helped the Free Staters to a 17-13 lead at half time with WP staying in the hunt thanks to a touchdown by wing Cheslin Kolbe.
Robert Ebersohn set up a great try for Cheetahs scrum-half Sarel Pretorius midway through the second half put the hosts clear but the power of the province pack told as Michael Rhodes crashed over the set up a grandstand finish.
The Cheetahs started the first half with a penalty in the second minute. Fly-half Riaan Smit kicked the three points after Western Province went offside and gave his side early momentum.
The home side scored the first try of the afternoon through Daniller, after flanker Lappies Labuschagne and his captain Boom Prinsloo broke away. Smit converted to leave Western Province 10 points adrift.
Province mounted a comeback as Kolbe ran straight through the hole from a scrum to dot down under the Cheetahs' posts. Kurt Coleman converted to bring his side within three points.
Coleman drew the scores level at 10 points each after the Cheetahs infringed at the breakdown in the 19th minute, an area of play the hosts struggled with early on.
Coleman made use of his opportunities at goal to help his side to a lead of 13-10 in the 26th minute.
The Cheetahs replied swiftly as Daniller scored his second try of the afternoon after Province's defensive pattern was left wanting by the hosts. Smit converted a difficult attempt to give the Bloemfontein side back a 17-13 lead at the interval.
Province started the better of the sides in the second half, with Coleman kicking a penalty to bring his side within one point.
The Cheetahs hit back in the 54th minute, when Ebersohn again found a gap in the visitors' defence and Pretorius rounded off his side's third try of the afternoon. Elgar Watts converted.
The visitors came back within a single point after flanker Rhodes scored from a driving maul five metres out, with Catrakilis converting.
Catrakilis came into play once again to kick a penalty in the 68th minute, giving his side the lead in the process.
A crucial penalty conceded by Province loose forward Nizaam Carr allowed Watts to give the hosts a one point lead again.
However, Province had the final say as the drop goal from Catrakilis sealed the win for the visitors.
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Daniller 2, Pretorius
Cons: Smit 2, Watts
For Western Province:
Tries: Kolbe, Rhodes
Cons: Coleman, Catrakilis
Pens: Coleman 3, Catrakilis
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Piet Lindeque, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Lappies Labuschagné, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Freddie Ngoza, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Rayno Benjamin, 22 Willie du Plessis.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Deon Fourie (capt), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Josh Katzen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Demetri Catrakilis.
Referee: Marius Jonker