SP Marais nailed seven conversions, added a penalty kick and scored a try against the Pumas. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
For coach John Dobson, one of the most pleasing aspects of Western Province’s demolition of the Pumas on Friday were the individual performances.

No surprises there. After all, there really were some good ones.

While the 57-28 result at Mbombela Stadium and the maximum 10 log points after two games were the ultimate prize for WP  who top the Currie Cup log after three rounds - what happened between kick-off and the final whistle was just as impressive.

SP Marais nailed seven conversions, added a penalty kick and scored a try against the SuperSport Challenge champions.

After missing out on Super Rugby through injury, Sergeal Petersen produced a fantastic performance during which he scored two tries while also having a hand in several others, showed how good he is under the high ball, and impressed with his general work on attack and showed an amazing work rate.

Up front, lock Ernst van Rhyn’s performance highlighted the depth WP have in the second row, Springbok prop Wilco Louw was outstanding in the scrums, and Bok loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s outing was also a pleasing one.

Dobson was particularly happy with WP’s younger players and the Springboks.

“We were very pleased,” Dobson said after the match. “Some of the youngsters like Ernst van Rhyn and Herchel Jantjies are doing an excellent job.”

“The Springboks played with heart and commitment, which is great given they were getting on a plane to go on tour. The fact they were so into the game is a good reflection of them and the culture of Western Province rugby.”

Province produced an A-grade performance on attack, and while Dobson feels they could have looked after the ball better, he had more good than bad to say about his team’s work. And understandably so.

“We’re reasonably happy with that performance,” Dobson said.

“I think we maybe slacked a bit in terms of our tempo later on in the first half and we let them back in with two tries.”

“We were very pleased with our breakdown, our speed of play, the way we got through phases. But we didn’t look after the ball as well as we could have.”

“We were pretty happy with how we closed the game out, those two tries they got were off our mistakes and we were a bit irritated that we weren’t very direct. If we had stayed direct I don’t think we would have conceded those tries, we got a bit loose.”

“It’s a tough place to play and they were unbeaten, so it’s a result we’re happy with.”

Another positive is that there weren’t any serious injuries, and Dobson also said he’s looking forward to getting a few players back for their match against the Lions after their bye next weekend.

“There are no serious injuries. Craig Barry rolled his ankle, but it’s not serious. And it’s nice to know that the guys who didn’t come on the trip like JJ Engelbrecht, Salmaan Moerat and Dan Kriel, Chris Massyn, Neethling Fouche will all be ready for Ellis Park in two weeks.”


Weekend Argus

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