It was a hard-fought match characterised by strong forward play and good running, but their four tries to three by the Capetonians allowed the home team to bounce back from a disappointing first round defeat against Tafel Lager Griquas.
The first half was tightly contested as both teams delivered a balanced showing using their forwards and backs, and made a concerted effort to apply pressure by retaining possession and trying to snuff out gaps in the defence.
Both teams kicked penalty goals early on, but the Cell C Sharks scored the first try compliments of Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo, who beat a defender out wide while DHL Western Province were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for Justin Phillips (scrumhalf) for slowing down the ball at a ruck.
This, however, was cancelled out minutes later by DHL Western Province No 8 Jaco Coetzee, who touched down from a pick-and-go after being denied a try two minutes earlier.
Both teams continued to run hard on attack, but the Cell C Sharks scored a stunning try shortly before halftime as Kobus van Wyk (wing) received a perfectly-timed pass from co-captain Jeremy Ward, and the successful conversion pushed them into a 15-10 halftime lead.
The Cell C Sharks built on this two minutes into the second half with an intercept try by their experienced Springbok centre JP Pietersen before adding their second penalty goal of the match.
DHL Western Province struck back early in the fourth quarter with a try by Ruhan Nel (centre), who twisted his way through the defence after a smart inside pass close to the tryline to reduce their deficit to eight points. This inspired them to keep fighting, and they did just that as they dominated possession and tested the Cell C Sharks defence until the final whistle.
This, however, was not enough as the Cell C Sharks’ replacement hooker Craig Burden scored their bonus-point try with minutes left on the clock after receiving the ball in space and stepping on the gas to touch down, which stretched their lead enough to cancel out a 78th minute try by DHL Western Province replacement back Joshua Stander for the win.
Cell C Sharks 32 (15) – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Kobus van Wyk, JP Pietersen, Craig Burden. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalty Goals: Curwin Bosch (2).
DHL Western Province 27 (10) - Tries: Jaco Coetzee, Ruhan Nel, Joshua Stander. Conversions: SP Marais (3). Penalty Goals: SP Marais (2).