CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson and captain Chris van Zyl are expecting Griquas to show the same attacking intent today (kick-off 5.15pm, SS1) as they did when the two teams met in Kimberley back in August.
In Kimberley, Griquas secured a shock Currie Cup win over Province, and today the Northern Cape team will look to produce their best result in Cape Town since 2011 - when they secured a draw in the Mother City.
But it’s their 44-34 triumph earlier this season that Griquas will be driven by, and according to Dobson, WP have put a few plans in place to curb some of their attacking displays.
“It was a very disappointing defeat up there,” Dobson said. “They will play wide-wide, so we’ve trained quite well for their inside ball and things like that.”
Province have been hot and cold this season - as they have delivered stunning displays of rugby mixed with ones that can be described as shocking.
One of those less-impressive productions was against the Pumas last week, where Province made a number of handling errors, and that failure to look after the ball proved costly as they suffered a 22-12 defeat.
At the team announcement at Newlands on Thursday, Dobson said that their handling glitches and their breakdown work (which could have gone better in Mpumalanga) had nothing to do with the Pumas, but rather their own mistakes.
"The handling errors or the breakdown errors actually had little to do with the opposition. So it’s about getting those things right and being less worried about Griquas,” he said.
The Province coach was relieved Griquas flanker Wendal Wehr - who Dobson praised for his playing ability - isn’t in the matchday squad.
“He’s one of the outstanding sixes in the Currie Cup. This is a guy we’re going to see much more of in South African rugby.”
Province’s backline has been boosted by the return of Springboks Damian de Allende and Dillyn Leyds. But arguably the most significant addition to WP’ run-on side is tighthead prop Wilco Louw.
Louw will add a lot to Province’s scrummaging in an area that Dobson has previously admitted they are a bit thin in (tighthead prop).
And although the scrum has been one of Province’s strengths this season, today’s match is not one that the hosts can afford to be less-than in.
And it’s something that Van Zyl knows.
The skipper expected the same threat from Griquas as his coach, and said:“We’re expecting them to take us wide-wide - like they did against us previously and they had a fair amount of success from it even though it was a poor defensive effort from us.”
“From a tactical point of view they’re probably going to try and do the same thing - shorter lineouts and take us wide-wide.”
Teams For Newlands
Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Bench: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Johan du Toit, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Ruhan Nel.
Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Renier Botha, 8 Kevin Kaba, 7 Sias Koen (captain), 6 De Wet Kruger, 5 Sintu Manjezi, 4 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Devon Martinus.
Bench: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Shaun McDonald, 19 Conway Pretorius, 20 Christiaan Meyer, 21 Christopher Bosch, 22 AJ Coertzen.