Pretoria – Opening a three-point gap atop the Currie Cup log, after a tightly contested 23-18 victory over a much-improved Blue Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld gave Western Province coach Allister Coetzee a lot to smile about.
“We are very happy with the win, we were up against a desperate Bulls side and they showed the way they came out tonight and they really came at us,” Coetzee said.
“It is a massive win for us, to come out here at altitude to beat the Bulls with a relatively young side and it is the first time that they’ve lost at Loftus this year.”
The Capetonians had been the pace-setting team since the start of Currie Cup, winning four matches on the trot with the team showing superb balance in attack and defence.
Key to Province’s victory was the exhilarating performance by their back three of Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk and leading destroyer Seabelo Senatla.
The winger deservedly earned the man-of-the-match accolade scoring a scintillating individual try, while he had a major hand in Van Wyk’s try.
“It is a massive win for us, there is no negotiating of our defence but the transformation from defence to attack is the secret.”
“I think we’ve got the players to do that, Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe they switch on to that.
Coetzee praised his halfbacks for providing width and the communication out in the wide channels.
“We are really happy with the win, there were still a lot of mistakes, but it is a tight team that can pull it through.”
It could easily have been a victory for the Light Blues as they turned in their best performance since the start of the competition.
At the death the Bulls made a serious assault on the Province line but in an attempt to get quick ball to the wing, centre William-Small Smith knocked the ball to bring the match to an end.
Although Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was disappointed with the defeat he was satisfied with the improvements his charges had shown.
“Credit to the players it was a huge improvement from the last few days,” Ludeke said.
“That is the way we can get to consistently winning, so there are a lot of positives we can take from this.
The tough encounter was won and lost in the second half, he said.
“At crucial times in that second half we lost momentum because I thought that we almost got control in the game.
“We got the lead on the board but we just did not to exit well enough and gave them that soft moment straight after that.”
The momentum swung in the Bulls’ favour minutes after the break when flanker Jacques du Plessis scored a converted try.
Province, however, scored two tries in quick succession before the Bulls launched a fight back which saw them come within a whisker of claiming the victory.
“The huge positive was the way that the team played for 80 minutes and there were a few youngsters that came though tonight and showed their class,” Ludeke said.
“They also played well tonight and that is why they won, we were maybe one pass away from a win so we didn’t get it but we will keep on working hard and improve every week.”
Coetzee sympathised with the Bulls after a few scoring chances went a begging for the hosts and believed the result could have gone a different way had they converted them.
“We played for about 30 minutes before we got the first penalty, it shows how tight it was, there was no quarter given and no quarter asked,” he said.
“If they played like this at the start of the competition I think they would have had more points on the log.” – Sapa