CAPE TOWN - Western Province coach John Dobson says he’s pleased with the improvement the team showed in certain areas against the Free State Cheetahs.
Province were unstoppable at Newlands on Saturday as they ran in nine tries to two to smash the Cheetahs 57-14. And although the Cheetahs aren’t the ideal progress-indicator now their frontliners are playing in a different hemisphere and they have to make do with a make-up Currie Cup team, WP still deserve praise for how they performed.
Their attack was stunning - their running lines, their support play and the offloads, but it was the step-up they made in terms of their intensity in contact and game management that Dobson was most happy with.
“It was nice to see some of the stuff we’d been working on, like getting some more intensity in contact and taking the ball through more phases,” Dobson said. “Our game management was also better - except for the last five minutes where we got a bit loose.”
It was all WP until the dying minutes, when the visitors managed to get at least some points on the scoreboard. And Province's massive defensive effort also put the opposition under heavy pressure.
And that was good because Province had a lot to make up for after their 20-21 defeat to the Sharks, and Dobson was also pleased with the fact they made fewer tackles and did more on attack.
“Intensity in contact and game management were the two areas we probably let ourselves down in against the Sharks. So that was what we wanted. And also not to make 280 tackles like we’ve been doing (in recent weeks).”
“We were disappointed about those two tries (by the Cheetahs), but we kept them to nought deep deep into the 70s and that was pleasing,” he said.
Dobson also added that flyhalf Damian Willemse, who left the field late in the first half and was replaced by Robert du Preez, didn’t sustain a serious injury.
“Ja, he (Damian) is fine. He took a knock to his ribs and he’s played every minute, so we took him off to look after him.
Skipper Chris van Zyl was also happy with what his team treated Newlands to at the weekend.
“We get a lot of confidence from our defence. When we defend well we get good rhythm. The guys are running good lines and good support lines - they’ve been doing that whole year, but it’s nice to see it.”
Province next travel to Nelspruit to take on the Pumas on Friday at 7.05 pm.