DHL Western Province got their SuperSport Rugby Challenge title defence off to an impressive start with a 59-12 victory against EP Elephants at Wolfson Stadium on Sunday.
Coach John Dobson’s team ran in nine tries in an emphatic performance, to maintain their unbeaten status in the competition following their perfect season last year.
The defending champions made a dominant start to the game, playing into the wind. A number of powerful mauls earned them great field position and the ball was sent to the blindside from an attacking scrum, with flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis gliding through for the opening try.
The hosts levelled matters soon afterwards with a try from hooker Allandre van Rooyen, but those were to be their only points of the first half.
DHL Western Prvonce took the lead back with a try from wing Duncan Saal, who got a great inside ball from outside centre Dan Kriel.
The next try also came from an inside pass, this time from Du Plessis, who put fullback Tristan Leyds over for the five-pointer.
The bonus point was wrapped up just before half-time as the ball was sent wide to Saal who scored his second after a strong run from flank Jaco Coetzee.
That saw DHL Western Province take a commanding 26-7 lead into the break following a dominant opening 40 minutes.
The second half got off to a slow start until it was sparked by a superb individual effort from Du Plessis, who beat a number of defenders to score under the poles.
The home side eventually got a second try via captain Dries van Schalkwyk, but it was little more than a consolation as DHL Western Province responded with further tries from replacement hooker Chad Solomon and Hermanus to seal the win.
For DHL WP:
Tries: Du Plessis 2, Saal 2, Leyds, Hermanus 2, Solomon, Hazner
Cons: Stander 6, Hermanus
Tries: Van Rooyen, Van Schalkwyk
DHL Western Province: 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Grant Hermanus, 13 Dan Kriel, 12 Joshua Stander, 11 Duncan Saal, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Luke Stringer (captain), 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Steph de Wit, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Labib Kannemeyer, 22 Michal Hazner.