The Golden Lions returned to the top of the Currie Cup log with a well-earned 22-9 win over hosts Western Province at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
Province had their fair share of possession and enjoyed territorial advantage for sustained spells but they eventually fell well short against the defending champions.
The Lions were full of running after the kick-off and rarely booted for territorial gains but their attempts to cut the Province defensive lines by trying to force gaps came to nought.
Their early pressure resulted in a third-minute penalty which flyhalf Butch James slotted for an early 3-0 lead.
Once Province were able to wrest the initiative, they set up several movements into the Lions' half but never looked like cracking the visiting side's defence. Much of their good work was undone by speculative long-range passes which went astray, as well as conceding possession at breakdown play.
Midway through the first half, Province managed to take play twice up to the Lions tryline but they were denied.
Fullback Joe Pietetersen, however, added three points from a penalty to draw them level after 23 minutes.
The Lions closed the half strongly and they took a deserving 6-3 lead two minutes ahead of the break when James goaled a second penalty.
After the interval, the Lions picked up where they left off and their 43rd minute surge into the Province 22-metre area yielded a penalty, which James converted.
Province fylhalf Demetri Catrakilis reduced the deficit two minutes later with a penalty, and moments later he equalised for the hosts after James was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
The setback did not seem to deter the Lions and their 14-man effort was good enough to force a Province infringement which wing Ruan Combrink, deputising for James, goaled to regain the lead for the Gauteng outfit.
As the match approached the hour mark, Province attacked the Lions tryline relentlessly in a hectic six-minute spell without success.
Once the Lions braved this onslaught, they regained James' services and Province looked all the more less penetrative.
Lions right wing Deon Helberg turned the match on its head with an intercept try which James converted in the 65th minute for a handy 10-point lead.
And if a sloppy Province side had any ideas of pulling the game out of the fire, they were stopped in their tracks by another James penalty eight minutes from the end.
The Lions regained their three-point lead at the top of the table, while Province remained in third place, eight points behind.
Final Score Western Province 9 Golden Lions 22
Penalties: Joe Pietersen, Demetri Catrakilis (2).
Try: Deon Helberg
Conversion: Butch James
Penalties: James (4), Ruan Combrink
Joe Pietersen, Gerhard van den Heever, JP du Plessis, Marcel Brache, Damian de Allende, Demetri Catrakilis, Louis Schreuder, Jebb Sinclair, Tyrone Holmes, Deon Fourie, De Kock Steenkamp, Don Armand, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.
Reserves: Deon Carstens, Brok Harris, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Helmut Lehman, Nic Groom, Bertin Klaasen, Pat Howard
Andries Coetzee, Deon Helberg, Lionel Mapoe, Dylan des Fountain, Ruan Combrinck, Butch James, Michael Bondesio, Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Michael Rhodes, Jacobie Adriaanse, Callie Visagie, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: Martin Bezuidenhout, Ruan Dreyer, Etienne Oosthuizen, Willie Britz, Ross Cronje, Deon van Rensburg, James Kamana.