The Vodacom Bulls survived two yellow cards and a second-half fightback from Griquas to reclaim pole position in the Currie Cup with victory at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
The Bulls sandwiched the sin-binning of Lizo Gqoboka and Madosh Tambwe between a first-half haul of five tries and two more in the second as Jake White’s men held on for a 48-38 win.
Stravino Jacobs dotted down early, before Sango Xamlashe swiftly replied in kind, but the Bulls powered into the lead with tries from Jacobs, Cyle Brink, Reinhardt Ludwig and Canan Moodie.
Chris Smith chipped in with 11 points from the kicking tee and the hosts went into half time 36-5 in front on the scoreboard.
The Bulls picked up where they left off after the break with Jan-Hendrik Wessels getting his name on the scoresheet, before Griquas were rewarded with a penalty try.
Gqoboka and Tambwe were sent off in quick succession, and the visitors made good use of their two-man advantage with Munier Hartzenberg and Hanru Sirgel getting in the endzone.
Harold Vorster hit back to ease some of the pressure for the Bulls heading into the final quarter, but Sirgel notched his second try to make it a nervy final 10 minutes for the home side.
Zander du Plessis contributed eight points from the boot in the stanza, while substitute Christopher Hollis dotted down at the death, but it was too little, too late for the men from Kimberley despite their brave efforts, who also lost Luther Obi and Janu Botha to the naughty chair before the final whistle.