Province will host Griquas in their fourth match of the Currie Cup season. And while Dobson’s side are undoubtedly the favourites heading into the fixture, the coach has flagged the gainline contest as a crucial one, while he also hopes his men can emulate the firing performance they produced against the Golden Lions at Ellis Park.
“I think I want to play our same game. We focused this whole week on how we want to play. But this competition is too short to vary too much from game to game,” Dobson said.
“We want to build on the way we played against the Lions; that is the pattern we trained with and that is the approach; to try and be as direct as we can and create space like that. So we haven’t really varied too much.
“They are second to us in the competition in gain-line; we are the top in gain-line and breakdown. They are similar then. So it will be very much a gain-line battle.
“A guy like Sias Koen is a big carrier, and he has carried 61 times in this competition so far, so we know it will be a gain-line battle. Defensively we can improve on the gain-line from where we were last week.”
Another area that Dobson wants his team to be alert in is the driving maul.
“We are very aware of it, and mauling is still a massive area of work for us. Both ours and stopping and that is what we are striving for - to be the best in all those facets of the game.”
A win over Griquas will strengthen WP’s chances of securing a home semi-final, and with a big contest looming against the Sharks next weekend before they face the Blue Bulls at Loftus, bagging maximum points this week again is important.
After securing three massive wins against the Free State Cheetahs, the Pumas and the Golden Lions, it goes without saying that WP’s confidence levels are high.
And Dobson says they need to use that momentum and confidence in the best way they can.
“I think about this team’s energy and spirit at the moment; it is pretty high. It is just to channel it in the right way and like I say, keep focus on what we think our standards are and what we feel a champion side is, and play to those strengths.
“But as far as the energy is concerned and the environment that we have created for ourselves, it is pretty good.”
While Province were absolutely stunning on attack against the Lions and scored nine tries, they did slip a few tackles. So it’s something that skipper Chris van Zyl wants to see an improvement in.
“That has been where most of our focus has been this week and it is something we want to rectify. We felt we let them through a couple of times and let down Norman (Laker, the defence coach) a bit,” Van Zyl said.
“Our focus has been defence orientated this week and we know that performance, although the margin was good, we are still striving for that. To be the ultimate champion side and to be strong on attack and defence.”
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 JJ Engelbrecht, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Chris van Zyl (capt), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Dan du Plessis, 22 Dillyn Leyds
Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (capt), 12 André Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 FP Pelser, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Devon Martinu
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 21 Wendal Wehr, 22 Christopher Bosch