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Western Province strengthen grip at top of Currie Cup table

Western Province strengthened their position at the top of the Currie Cup standings with a 37-23 victory over Pumas on Friday.

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Having led 20-6 at the break, Province had to hold off a spirited Pumas fightback after the interval to earn a hard-fought success on Friday.

Province opened the scoring through a penalty from Demetri Catrakilis, before Nizaam Carr registered the first of his two tries in the 10th minute.

Pumas finally made their mark on the scoreboard through the boot of JC Roos, but two missed efforts from the fly-half proved costly.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe went over just before the break as Province extended their advantage, and a converted Michael van der Spuy try at the beginning of the second half stretched the advantage to 21 points.

However, the Pumas refused to roll over and they were soon within seven points of their opponents - Stefan Watermeyer and Reynier van Rooyen crossing the whitewash, with replacement number 10 Justin van Staden adding the extras.

Catrakilis stopped the rot with three points from the tee, before Van Staden responded with a penalty of his own.

But the win - as well as a bonus point - were in the bag by the final whistle, as Carr powered over for his second try, before Catrakilis took his match tally to 17.

On Saturday, Golden Lions ran riot at doomed Griquas by dishing out a 46-8 mauling to their hosts.

Ruan Combrinck was in prolific kicking form and, with the addition of a late try, made a total contribution of 21 points to his side's eventual haul.

The bonus-point victory sees the Lions lurking four behind Province with two matches left to play, while Griquas are destined for the promotion-relegation play-offs.

Natal Sharks maintained their push for second spot by thumping Eastern Province Kings 53-24, earning a bonus point in the process.

Lionel Cronje complemented his kicking duties with a first-half try, while Paul Jordaan touched down twice.

In the round's other fixture, Blue Bulls triumphed 31-22 over Free State Cheetahs to keep their play-off dreams alive.

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