CAPE TOWN – While Western Province coach John Dobson was understandably disappointed in his team’s performance against the Sharks, he is confident that they can bounce back when they host the Golden Lions on Saturday.
In fact, he expects it.
In their 32-27 defeat to a Sharks team that was desperate to make up for their humiliating loss to Griquas in their Currie Cup opener, Province produced a performance that would have strayed far from the Kings Park script, had there been one.
Their kicking game was a standout weakness in Durban, and although they went well in a number of other areas, the attitude of the team as a whole didn’t impress Dobson at all.
“It’s a very disappointing result for us. We didn’t deserve to win it,” he said after the game. “I don’t know why we were so flat, our body language was poor from the start and we were very well beaten in the kicking game.
“We missed a lot of touches. I thought Curwin (Bosch) and Rhyno (Smith) were exceptional with their kicking game.
“I suppose it’s quite good the way we came back in those last minutes, but for us it was a very, very disappointing performance.”
In the final quarter, WP trailed 25-10 before a converted try by centre Ruhan Nel took the score to 25-17. SP Marais added a penalty to further narrow the Sharks’ lead (25-20), but the hosts scored another seven-pointer, with WP responding in the 77th minute (32-27).
Dobson did find some positives in their Round Two game, though.
“I think our set piece was good, our mauling was good, I think our breakdown was superb today, but we normally pride ourselves in playing in the blue and white and today we looked really, really flat.
“We knew we were in for a game, the Sharks are a much better team than last week’s score implied. So we knew we were in for a game, I just didn’t expect us to roll over quite like that.
“I expect a lot more energy and passion than what we showed today. Like the Sharks did this week, we’ll bounce back next week.
“Today wasn’t our standard so it won’t happen again.”
The Cape side will welcome back a couple of stars from injury for their home fixture, but Dobson couldn’t say much on Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi’s progress.
Kolisi - who was going to get back into things during the Currie Cup - seems set to miss the Rugby Championship, and with only six regular-season Currie Cup games, it remains to be seen whether the flanker will feature for Dobson’s team at all.
“We’ve got a couple of guys coming back from injury. I thought Sikhumbuzo Notshe - who hasn’t play for many months - was absolutely outstanding today after coming back a week earlier and coming off the bench in last week’s game.
“There are also a couple of other guys coming back into selection. Whether Siya is coming or not I’m not sure. Sergeal Petersen is also coming back.”
The defeat placed WP third on the log behind log-leading Griquas and the Free State Cheetahs in second spot.
Province have a bye after their meeting with the Lions, before hosting the Pumas at Newlands. After that, they will meet Griquas and the Cheetahs away.@WynonaLouw