CAPE TOWN - Western Province assistant coach Dawie Snyman has praised the team for how they kept cool and “made good decisions” during the extra-time crunch in their Newlands semi-final against the Blue Bulls.
Scores were deadlocked at 32-all in the 80th minute after a late try by Bulls centre Dylan Sage, and a missed touchline conversion by flyhalf Manie Libbok granted Province a chance to get some points in extra time, which they did (three points through SP Marais) . The semi against the Bulls was the first game this season where John Dobson’s men were really under the pump - something that was unexpected seeing that WP had thumped their rivals 34-7 at Loftus the week before.
And while some might say that WP were lucky to pull through and book their home final despite the character they showed, the attack coach believes that they did enough to deserve the 35-32 triumph.
“We did enough. It is the first time we have had pressure, we came close and that is probably why people would say that (WP were lucky to win),” Snyman said. “We were leading with five points at that last scrum before extra time. If we kicked it out there we would have won the game, not easily, we had to work hard for it, but we were not lucky. The guys kept cool heads and made good decisions during extra time. The credit must go to the players.”
After the game, Dobson said that they freestyled a bit too much and deviated from the plan, and the Bulls’ defence also did well to curb WP’s plans with the ball. And Snyman said that’s where they felt the pressure.
“There were certain areas that they targeted,” Snyman said. “They closed our space and it’s something we have not experienced. There were areas around what they presented, and where we used to take the right options throughout the season, on Saturday we didn’t. Maybe it is about making sure we stick to the plan, we went off it a little bit and that’s where we felt the pressure.
“I think we just took a bit of time to adjust to it even though we had prepared for it. The Bulls did their homework well, they executed well. It doesn’t help (when) you have linespeed and don’t make good tackles. They made good tackles.”