The EP Kings thumped the defending champion Boland Kavaliers 57-19 to move seven points clear at the top of the first division log.
The Kings were ruthless in their demolition of the Kavaliers in Port Elizabeth on Friday and maintained their unbeaten record in the competition this year.
The first weekend of matches in the second round of the new-look, eight team competition saw 276 points scored, the Pumas powered their way into second place thanks to a 38-27 victory in Nelspruit over the Leopards, who slip to fourth as a result.
The SWD Eagles came from behind to beat the Border Bulldogs 33-27 in East London to move into third, while the Valke picked up their second win of the season but remain seventh. The Griffons, who set the early pace in the competition after winning their opening four matches, find themselves in fifth place after four defeats on the trot.
Pumas 38-27 Leopards
RW Kember scored two first-half tries while fullback JC Roos kicked 18 points courtesy of four penalties and three conversions as the Pumas, playing once again at Mbombela Stadium, avenged the 32-23 loss they had suffered at the hands of the Leopards earlier in the season.
Roos and Leopards flyhalf Andre Pretorius traded early penalties before the visitors moved into the lead with a try from the prolific wing Allister Kettledas, who went over for his seventh five-pointer of the season.
However, Roos narrowed the gap with his second penalty before the Pumas regained the lead when the barnstorming Kember went over for a converted try in the 29th minute. Kember grabbed his second try five minutes later as the Pumas went to the break holding an eight-point lead.
The second half was a far more thrilling affair with both teams combining for five tries although the Pumas never lost their half-time lead.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Venter, Kember 2, Van Wyk
Cons: Roos 3
Pens: Roos 4
For the Leopards:
Tries: Niemand, De Wet, Grobler, Kettledas
Cons: Pretorius 2
EP Kings 57-19 Boland Kavaliers
The EP Kings celebrated their inclusion in Super Rugby with a crushing victory over the Boland Kavaliers at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.
The unbeaten Kings, who after nine months of speculation were voted into next years Super tournament, shed the shackles of uncertainty and ran the ball whenever the opportunity presented itself. They scored eight tries to Bolands three and thereby increased their unbeaten streak to eight games.
They helped themselves to five first-half tries and secured the bonus-point score through flyhalf Wesley Dunlop as early as the 24th minute. The Kings first got onto the scoreboard in the ninth minute when captain and No.8 Luke Watson crashed over from a maul which rolled all of 20 metres.
Five minutes later, prop Clint Newland scored his teams second from more driving play by his fellow forwards. Centre Tiger Mangweni collected a pass from Samoan wing Paul Perez to score the third try midway through the first half.
After Dunlop had made it 26-0 with his try which he converted himself, fullback SP Marais intercepted the ball close to his own tryline and ran the length of the field to score under the posts.
Dunlop slotted the easy conversion and kicked another penalty but not before Boland opened their account with try by flank Philip van Zyl.
Watson thereafter got his second try of the match shortly after the restart to rub further salt in the wounds and ensure that the Kings established themselves, if they had not already done so, as odds-on favourites for the title.
For the EP Kings:
Tries: Van der Walt, Dunlop, Mangweni, Marais, Watson 2, Du Preez, Newland
Cons: Dunlop 6, Whitehead
For the Kavaliers:
Tries: Van der Merwe, Van Zyl, Clark
Cons: Zana, Jansen.
Border Bulldogs 27-33 SWD Eagles
Livewire JD Herbst, playing scrumhalf and wing, scored two dazzling tries to lead the SWD Eagles to a thrilling victory over a tiring Border Bulldogs team at the Buffalo City Municipal Stadium in East London on Friday.
Herbst, who showed blazing speed off the mark and who was an elusive attacker all over the field, was the shining light as the Eagles overcame a flying start by the Bulldogs.
Border scored three first-half tries and played well enough, defending heroically in the second half, to leave their supporters eagerly anticipating their first win in this year's competition. But it was not to be, as Herbst's vision and pace proved crucial as he went over for his first try.
The powerful Eagles forwards had been strangely subdued, but they began to show their strength in the second quarter and flank Shaun Raubenheimer was driven over for the visitors' second try.
A Jannie Myburgh penalty just before the break meant the Eagles were trailing 24-19 heading into the second half, but they produced the sort of powerful forward performance one would normally associate with SWD rugby to thoroughly dominate the last 40 minutes.
For the Bulldogs:
Tries: Laatz 2, Booi
Cons: Myburgh 3
Pens: Myburgh 2
For the Eagles:
Tries: Kotze, Raubenheimer, Herbst 2, Taljard
Cons: Kotze 4
Griffons 36-39 Valke
Nagging fears that the Griffons have dropped out of First Division contention were confirmed in Welkom on Friday as they lost to an after-the-hooter penalty by Juan Kotze.
The Griffons, who won their first four matches to set the early pace in the competition, squandered a strong first-half showing and a 22-5 lead to lose their fourth successive game and leave themselves in danger of slipping out of playoff contention.
The Valke's victory was only sealed in the 82nd minute when replacement flyhalf Kotze slotted a 38-metre penalty after Griffons flank Martin Sithole had been caught playing the ball in a ruck while on his knees.
This had followed his knock-on which had given the visitors a scrum as normal time finished.
This was a horrible ending for the hard-working Sithole, who had enjoyed a fine match before that, including creating a try for Oshwill Nortje which gave the Griffons a 36-29 lead with 14 minutes left, but one which they simply could not defend.
For the Griffons:
Tries: Britz, Erwee, Nortje, Steyn 2, Ehlers
Cons: Graaff 2, Van Wyk.
For the Valke:
Tries: Engelbrecht, Bell 3, Richter 2
Cons: Aspeling 2, Kotze
First Division log (played, won, points)
Kings (8, 7, 35)
Pumas (8, 5, 28
SWD (8, 5, 26)
Leopards (8, 5, 25)
Griffons (8, 4, 23)
Boland (8, 2, 15)
Valke (8, 2, 14)
Border (8, 0, 5)