JJ Engelbrecht of Western Province celebrates scoring a try with teammates against the Sharks on Saturday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson has hailed his team’s character in their victory over the Sharks on Saturday.

Province maintained their unbeaten record, running in seven tries in the process, to record a 50-28 victory over their closest rivals. The victory seemed ensured after the first quarter when WP raced into a 31-7 lead, but the visitors clawed their way back to within three points mid-way through the second half.

With the Sharks boasting nine Springboks in their line-up, in comparison to a relatively youthful WP team, the wheels could easily have come off at that stage.

But Province showed their mettle during this period, and upped the tempo with a couple more tries late in the second half to secure a credible bonus-point victory.

“It was the first time we have been really tested this season when the score closed to 31-28. They had momentum and we were under pressure‚” Dobson said. “I’ve seen countless teams give up in that situation‚ but the way we clawed out way back into the game to score three tries‚ speaks volumes about our character.

“This is a very good Sharks side with lots of Test experience and to score 50 points against them at Newlands was special.”

JJ Engelbrecht of Western Province celebrates scoring a try with teammate SP Marais on Saturday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
JJ Engelbrecht of Western Province celebrates scoring a try with teammate SP Marais on Saturday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

A further testament to the growing expectations of the WP team was that Dobson was not entirely happy with his team’s performances, despite the home team hitting the half-century mark. 

With a trip to Pretoria to face the Blue Bulls on the horizon, Dobson wants his team to be more clinical.

“I don’t want to carp about things‚ but we probably allowed them one or two line breaks too many‚ which is something we can work on,” he said. “Our physicality was excellent though‚ which was something we asked from the guys.”

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The victory over the Sharks ensured a home playoff for Dobson’s team, but like the coach had stated previously in the week, the goal remains a Currie Cup final at Newlands.

Dobson will also take great pleasure from a Man of the Match performance by left-wing SP Marais, who was not only incisive on attack but also deadly with the boot.


IOL Sport

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