Cape Town – Western Province coach Alistair Coetzee remained upbeat after they shrugged off a chaotic week and climbed to second position in the Currie Cup standings after thrashing the Blue Bulls 42-6 at Newlands on Saturday evening.
Springbok call-ups, coupled with injuries to key members of the squad, left Coetzee with a selection headache ahead of the derby contest, but he was pleased to bag a bonus point after they ran in five tries.
Having lost Siya Kolisi last week with a broken finger, it was confirmed on Sunday that scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage fractured his right leg and would be out for the rest of the season.
“Season-ending injuries are always tough to deal with – like Siya last week and now Dewaldt,” Coetzee said on Monday.
“It's very unfortunate for Dewaldt and I feel for him, but we're lucky that we've got three quality scrumhalves here in Dewaldt, Louis Schreuder and Nic Groom.
“Our rotational policy this season has put us in good stead.”
Despite the growing injury list, Western Province received good news on Nick Koster, who could feature against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, after the loose-forward made steady progress in his return from a spell off the field.
“Nick is getting on track a little slower than expected, but he is making headway after doing some work with the physio,” Coetzee said.
“It is very frustrating for him as a player, not being all that agile, which has kept him off the training field, but he has joined our video sessions and is doing all he can at this stage in being active and a part of the team.”
Fullback Joe Pietersen also made a return to training at Province's base in Bellville on Monday, albeit with a heavily strapped right wrist.
Pietersen's injury has kept him off the field for most of the Currie Cup season thus far, but Coetzee hinted that the speedster could be back in the selection mix this week.
“An analysis on Joe will be done tomorrow with the specialist, so we hope for the best,” Coetzee said.
Meanwhile, Coetzee was confident his side could maintain their good form heading into the remaining fixtures of their provincial campaign.
“We had a great game against the Blue Bulls,” he said.
“However, we were found wanting in certain areas and these are places where we can improve.
“Our intensity this past weekend was unbelievable and the effort that the guys put in was out of this world.
“It was exactly what we needed ahead of going to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs who are always a tough outfit at home.” – Sapa