Western Province have everything to play for against Griquas
CAPE TOWN - WP won’t be underestimating Griquas ahead of their clash at Newlands on Saturday.
THERE is nothing normal about 2020, and Western Province’s next Currie Cup fixture against Griquas will play right into that theme.
Province will host the Kimberley side at Newlands on Boxing Day (kickoff 4.30pm), and while the players will probably do some adjusting to their Christmas meals in preparation for the December 26 match, the objective remains as ‘normal’ as it would in any other year and any other campaign – to do enough to secure a home play-off berth.
While it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Province until now, it’s a goal that’s well within their reach should they do things right from here on.
Also, the fact that games can be postponed or cancelled at any time should there be disruptions due to Covid makes every game crucial (seeing as it happened to their final and crucial Super Rugby Unlocked match, it’s something they need no reminding of).
They still have three games to play – against Griquas, the Cheetahs, and the Sharks – but this match can be considered a must-win for John Dobson’s side if they want to play in the last-four on home turf. And, given the layout of the log, they have a good chance of moving closer to that goal.
Just three log points separate the Lions, who are in second position on the standings, and Province, who are in fourth. With the Lions’ game against the top-of-the-table Bulls having been rescheduled to next week due to Covid cases in the Bulls squad, WP, who have a game in hand, can jump to second spot with a positive result on Saturday, albeit perhaps temporarily.
That alone makes this match a big one. Add in there the fact that it will be the only game played on Boxing Day and there’s an even bigger injection of spice.
WP assistant coach Dawie Snyman, speaking during a virtual press conference earlier this week, said that while it’s an adjustment, the team are looking forward to getting back to action after the bye week.
“It is quite exciting,” he said. “This is a critical time for us, an important sequence of games, it is the beginning of the knock-out phase. How we do over next few weeks will determine whether we are hosting a semi-final at Newlands or possibly travelling to Loftus to face the Bulls. Obviously we would be playing at home, so there is a lot to play for. After this game we travel to Bloemfontein and then we host the Sharks, so it is important we get it right this week so we can go into those games and then hopefully beyond that into the playoffs with some form behind us.”
Griquas are at the bottom of the log, but they’re not a team to be underestimated, Snyman emphasised.
“They pushed the Bulls really hard at the beginning of Super Rugby Unlocked and were also well ahead at one point against the Sharks before losing due to a last-minute penalty. So, we know they can be dangerous and on their day they can beat anyone,” said Snyman.