Western Province coach John Dobson. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN - Western Province coach John Dobson says he isn’t too worried about all the handling errors his side made in their shock defeat to the Pumas on Friday.

In an error-strewn performance by Province at the Mbombela Stadium, the hosts managed to break their eight-year drought against the Cape side as they played their way to a 22-12 victory.

While the Pumas’ performance couldn’t be faulted, WP were their own worst enemy as they struggled to retain possession due to all their handling errors.

And although Dobson isn’t hitting the panic button just yet, the WP mentor acknowledged that their remaining games against Griquas, the Blue Bulls, the Golden Lions and the Sharks will be crucial for his team's challenge for honours.

“Ja, all of them are must-wins,” Dobson said. “It was a really devastating result for us on Friday night. If we win all four we can get a home semi. If we don’t win all four we’ll miss out. So that’s how important it is for us (to win all four remaining games).”

Dobson also said the fact that he knows the skill level of his players made their on-field productions a “freakish” one, but added there are also a few other areas needing fixing before they host Griquas at Newlands on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 5.15).

“It was a freakish event, because for guys of their skill level - we’ve seen it and we can’t doubt it - to make 26 handling errors... I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

“If you see Huw Jones during training, he doesn’t drop three or four balls. I’m not worried about their skill level - I think Paul Feeney and Robbie Fleck have done a good job of upskilling the guys.”

“I’m not too panicky about it because I know these guys’ skill level. So I’ve got to say that was an aberration. There are other areas that worried us and that we need to work on. We need a bit more clarity on our kicking game and our breakdown wasn’t very good.”

After the weekend’s disappointment, Dobson was also looking forward to the dilemma that awaits him now that Springbok backs Dillyn Leyds and Damian de Allende and tighthead prop Wilco Louw are available for Currie Cup selection this week.

“When it comes to the backs we’re going to have an amazing selection quandary - look at the impact Werner Kok made when he came off the bench on Friday. Look at the form and Seabelo (Senatla) amd Ruhan (Nel). 

Then you’ve got Damian, Huw Jones and EW (Viljoen). There’s Rob (du Preez) and Damian Willemse, Craig Barry and Dillyn Leyds. So it’s going to be tough.”

Cape Times

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