WP's Ruhan Nel kicks ahead during their Currie Cup game against Free State Cheetahs. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

While Western Province coach John Dobson is pleased with his team's 32-0 thrashing of the Free State Cheetahs, he's expecting a very different challenge against the Pumas this weekend.

WP's Currie Cup-opening win took them to the top of the standings after two rounds, and the defending champions will now shift their focus to second-placed Pumas – who they'll meet at Mbombela Stadium on Friday evening (kick-off 6.30 pm).

The Newlands fixture was never going to be a rugby classic thanks to a torrential downpour, but the way Province managed to look after the ball, employ some clever tactical kicking and go about their business in the physical contests, at the breakdown and at the lineouts – especially in the second half – was about as good as you can expect a Currie Cup fixture to get in those extreme conditions.

"I'm very happy with the win,"  Dobson said after the match. 

"Our ball security in those conditions was quite good. The guys made good decisions in contact and our breakdown and physicality...I'm very pleased with that performance."

Although Province certainly deserve praise for that outing, the Cheetahs didn't make it very hard for the hosts to look even better. And the fact that the Cheetahs have lost their first two games in the single-round, six-game competition with the bulk of their squad that will play in the PRO14 from next weekend certainly doesn't bode well for Daan Human's team...in either competition.

Dobson also said that their two-match tour to France ahead of the Currie Cup – where they outplayed Narbonne and succumbed to French giants Montpellier – was especially beneficial in terms preparation seeing that there's not a lot of time to gradually shift into gear in this year's Currie Cup.

"It's going to be completely different (against the Pumas)," he said.

"That's why this tour was so important to us because you can't build an innings in this year's Currie Cup, so we had to hit the ground running."

"But we know the Pumas are going to be a completely different challenge...the conditions, how they play, everything."

"We actually said in the coaching box that it would be an easy Sunday because there wasn't much to analyse in terms of the game in those conditions, so the Pumas won't know much about us."


IOL Sport

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