Cape Town - In an experiment that will benefit the Stormers next year, Allister Coetzee is opening up the throttle on Western Province’s Currie Cup attack, but that doesn’t mean the coach wants to see wheelies against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday night.
“We’re keeping the ball alive,” Coetzee told reporters after a training session in Bellville.
“We stumbled on a few things (in the Super 15) and one of our objectives in the Currie Cup is to try things that we want to improve on.”
The players were given more scope to make decisions on the fly as Province dabbled with a looser application of Coetzee’s low-risk structures against the Lions at Ellis Park last week.
The result was that WP played all the rugby in a very entertaining performance, and returned to Cape Town with a 26-23 loss. It is a trend that will be very familiar to Province and Stormers fans who were in the stands prior to the arrival of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber at the end of 2007.
In the aftermath of WP’s second loss of the season, Coetzee bemoaned a lack of experience for the poor decision-making that led to a string of penalties, unforced errors and turnovers, and the coach was quick to apply the brakes on any suggestion that percentage tactics have been discarded.
“During the Super 15, people said that it never looked like we could score a try, now it looks like we can,” said Coetzee.
“But you don’t want to go too much to the other side. This is not the French brand of just passing the ball around and running it from everywhere, it has to be a calculated thing and there’s still place for a sound kicking game.”
The Province coach is all too aware that attacking ploys that are effective in the Currie Cup may not transfer to Super Rugby.
“I don’t want to be pulled into a false sense of security,” he said. “When we review the games we say ‘yes, it looks like that worked, but someone like (Sharks hooker) Bismarck du Plessis would have closed that hole at Super 15 level’.”
The Bulls may be missing a wagonload of players to the Springbok squad, but Coetzee says Province will have their hands full this week.
“We all know that they’re a good side and a proud franchise,” he said. “The north-south derby is always a big one and they’ll draw a lot of confidence from beating the form side, the Sharks (42-31) in Pretoria last week.
“We’ll really have to play well to beat them, but I’m very positive that we will be better this week.
“We’ve sorted out our discipline and we will get our breakdown sorted out too.”
Coetzee was scheduled to name his matchday squad today with fit-again flanker Rynhardt Elstadt expected to replace the injured Siya Kolisi.