Western Province want to deliver ’the full package’ against the Lions
CAPE TOWN - Western Province prop Frans Malherbe says the lessons they learnt in their opening Currie Cup game against the Bulls at Newlands at the weekend will stand them in good stead going forward.
In the match, the hosts' decision-making was poor at times, and they had a number of opportunities to put the game to bed. But, even though they dominated territory and possession, especially in the first half, they were beaten by a 14-man Bulls side, losing the game 20-22.
They will travel to Johannesburg to face the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday. And while they have quite a few wrongs to right in Round Two, the Springbok tighthead reckons if they can learn from their first defeat to the Bulls at Newlands in 11 years, they will grow as a team.
“I think our set-pieces went reasonably well if you compare it to the game at Loftus where the Bulls got those three mauls going well and there were three penalties in a row. There were very few scrums; I think it's the first game I played where there were so few, I think there were like one or two in the first half,” Malherbe said.
“I think we did well at the scrums this weekend, we also stopped their mauls. I just think our decision-making could have been better at times. There were times where there were good options that we didn't take, but we'll be better for it and it'll help us grow as a team.
“If we make the choices in the next game that we should have made against the Bulls, it will go better in future.”
While the pack did a solid job against the Bulls at the scrums especially, Malherbe knows all too well that they can't just rely on set-piece dominance this weekend, even though it's an area the Cape side have for the most part been consistent in this season.
“We know we can't just rely on scrums, and with the game we're expecting this weekend, the likelihood of handling errors creeping in is higher,” he said.
“We're trying to put a full performance together and deliver the whole package, we want to do well in all areas. When we have the opportunity to dominate there (scrums), we'll go for it, but we can't just rely on that.
“Over the last few years the Lions have gained a lot of respect for their scrummaging, so we'll do our best to prepare as best we can.”
Defence coach Norman Laker added that with the wet weather they're expecting this weekend, they're prepared to handle the conditions, but they're also prepared for the fast kind of rugby the Lions are known for.
“Every game is vital, but we know going up to Ellis Park, we're excited and we know it's going to be a fast game up there. From the weather reports it might be rainy as well and there might be thunderstorms, but we're prepared for both games. It's an important game and all the guys in the squad know the importance of this games.”