Herschel Jantjies believes Western Province are in a perfect space
CAPE TOWN - Western Province scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies says they may have gone about securing a semi-final in a way that ‘some people may complain about', but it's a way that's worked for them.
Throughout the season, Province's set-piece was key for them, and while head coach John Dobson at one stage said they may have to reconsider their ‘reliance' on their scrum seeing as they didn't always get rewarded for it, that concern didn't last long as the Cape side continued to use their strongest weapon to their advantage. And it's one they can use to their advantage again this weekend.
WP will host the Sharks at Newlands in the second Currie Cup semi-final (kick-off 4.30pm), while the Bulls will have home ground advantage against the Lions in the earlier playoff (2pm).
“I think we've earned this home semi. Some people might complain about it and say that we didn't play the kind of rugby that they wanted to see, but it worked for us and we got what we wanted. Hopefully the results can go our way this week with all the preparation we've had,” the Springbok No 9 said during a digital press conference on Tuesday.
“It was always a thing of learning and trying to put that into our team. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and what they think of us and what they want from us. But we, as a squad, are in a perfect space.”
Province will take on the Sharks for the first time since before the rugby break, and while it will be different meeting a team for the first time in the play-offs without having faced them during the league stage of the competition, Jantjies is confident that their extended preparation time will come in handy.
“We've lost out on three occasions to play the Sharks, but on the other hand we got three weeks of solid prep without playing them. I think in terms of the off-field prep the guys are spot on. You can feel the hunger that comes with playing in a semi-final, but the nerves are also there.
“The Sharks game is a perfect test for us. Given that it's a play-off match, we all know that if we don't get it right, our campaign is done.
“We started Super Rugby Unlocked going into the Currie Cup with a plan. I think we have stuck to our plan no matter what. It was always a building phase up until now, but now is the time to prove that our plan is worth playing and putting out there on the park.
“This is going to be the ultimate test to see if everything is in place.
“Regardless of what happens against the Lions and the Bulls. Let's say the Lions do beat the Bulls, if we don't beat the Sharks then we are done anyway. Our focus is purely on beating the Sharks and not worrying too much about what's happening (elsewhere).”