Province gain confidence for semi
The Springbok-laden Western Province team will be taking loads of confidence to Johannesburg for next weekend’s Currie Cup semi-final following their impressive 36-15 victory over the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday.
Province coach Allister Coetzee was particularly pleased by his team’s performance at the set-pieces and he felt it was incumbent on his players to build on that display against the 2011 champions, the Golden Lions next Saturday.
“I liked the way we physically dominated the scrum and the tackle,” said Coetzee.
“It is important to go into the semis confident about our set-piece.
“It was a very workmanlike performance and it is how we want to perform as a team.”
Coetzee said that while the side’s returning Springbok players made a massive impact in their victory it was an all-round good performance by the team.
“It was great to see how the (returning) Boks fitted in because it is something that we had to be sure of,” he said.
“We’ve been playing for a while with different players but this was almost like a Super 15 group so it was important that we came up with a sound performance.
“The Boks added great value across the board and also the rest of the team played their part. It was not a case of letting the Boks do the hard work and the rest sitting back.”
Province captain Jean de Villiers praised the players’ efforts but added that the performance was not necessarily a memorable one.
“It was a good performance but not one that will be remembered for years to come,” said De Villiers.
“It would be good for the young players who gave this team a chance to reach the semis that we go further in the competition.
“They will feel part a sense of achievement and it will be good for the future of Province rugby.”
The result doomed the Cheetahs to a relegation/promotion play-off against First Division champions, the Eastern Province Kings, starting next week.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske, clearly dejected, was also concerned about the plight of his prop, Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen, who was forced to leave the field injured in the first half.
“I told the players after the match that if they cannot beat the Kings in the play-offs, they don’t deserve to be playing (Premier Division) Currie Cup next year,” said Drotske.
“Looking back this season there were matches that we should have won and now those missed opportunities have landed us where we are now.
“This (defeat) is what happens when you’re defending for 50 or 60 minutes in a match, but credit to WP, their defence was awesome.”
Drotske did not want to comment on Oosthuizen’s injury except he suggest that it was a back injury rather than the troublesome neck which threatened to curtail his career in the past.