A strong second-half showing helped the Blue Bulls keep the pressure on the table-topping Sharks, while Boland Cavaliers were pushed hard by the Pumas
The Blue Bulls climbed to second in the Currie Cup standings courtesy of a resounding 31-17 victory over the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld.
An evenly-fought first half produced a try apiece for Lions' centre Howard Mnisi and Bulls' wing Travis Ismaiel, with three penalties from Tian Schoeman taking the hosts out to a hard-fought, 16-10 lead at half-time.
But the Blue Bulls pulled away in the second half, as Marvin Oriel and Joshua Stander both bagged tries, while Kwagga Smith's converted score was all the men from Johannesburg could muster.
The victory was the Bulls' third of the campaign and moves them to within four points of the Sharks ahead of the latter's trip to Western Province on Saturday.
Boland Cavaliers, meanwhile, were given a real scare by the 14-man Pumas, but hung on to win 25-22 in Wellington.
The visitors drew first blood when hooker Frankie Herne found the line with just five minutes on the board, before Adriaan Carlese replied in kind for the Cavaliers.
The dismissal of centre Tyler Fisher for leading with the elbow then changed the complexion of the game and with the hosts leading 13-5 at the break, the writing seemed to be on the wall for MJ Mentz's side.
But instead they roared back into the lead with tries from Namibian international Renaldo Bothma and centre Leighton van Wyk.
Boland steadied the ship through subsequent five-pointers from Shaun Adendorff and Robbie Louw, however, and with Theuns Kotze adding ten points with the boot, Kevin Luiters' late score was not enough for the plucky Pumas.