CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson says their Currie Cup opener against the Free State Cheetahs – which was played in torrential downpour at Newlands – helped them get the job done against the Blue Bulls at the weekend.
Heavy rain and lighting stole the Loftus show even before kickoff, which saw the last Currie Cup match of the weekend delayed by 30 minutes and eventually abandoned at halftime.
That of course put pressure on both sides to do as much as possible before the break. And it was a challenge that WP won convincingly 34-7.
The Bulls struggled to cope in the wet.
And Province, on the other hand, were superb given the conditions as they had four tries by the 40th minute (one of which was a penalty try), absolutely destroyed the Bulls scrum and pounced on the many mistakes Pote Human’s side were guilty of.
They also showed outstanding defence – and that solid defensive pressure led to two tries by Sergeal Petersen and Jaco Coetzee respectively.
While naturally pleased with the outcome, Dobson said that one of their goals ahead of the North-South derby was to make their semi-final fixture seem like a daunting task for their foes – who they’ll meet at Newlands again on Saturday.
And it’s certainly an objective they aced.
“It wasn’t (worse than against the Cheetahs),” Dobson said.
“That is where I think we got a lot of experience over the Bulls. We played the Cheetahs PRO14 team, that the Bulls played against, at Newlands in the rain, and I thought we were exceptional.
“What we wanted to do is to come here and make it seem very daunting for the Bulls to come to us next weekend.
“(Province captain) Chris van Zyl’s whole talk in the week was to make a statement. This is a special group, and they are definitely not going to be complacent.
“Also, we are completely aware that the conditions favoured us, and some of those (Bulls players) made a few mistakes.
“We gained our territory largely off the Bulls’ wet-weather mistakes. It won’t be as easy as that next week.”
Province needed just one point to cement their spot at the top of the standings, so it’s not hard to see why Dobson was so pleased with his team’s bonus-point win – achieved in 40 minutes – in conditions that resembled an apocalyptic vision.
#DHLNewlands 2018 season tickets are valid for the home Currie Cup semifinal between #DHLWP and Vodacom Blue Bulls at 17h00 on October 20, with match tickets going on sale at 12h00 on Monday – https://t.co/IQhdXRjUrd #wpjoulekkerding #WeStandTogether— WP RUGBY (@WP_RUGBY) October 13, 2018
“To be honest, we are absolutely thrilled because we thought in those conditions, to score four tries before halftime was exceptional,” he said.
“When the message came that we might only get a half in, we asked the players to play with massive intensity and do the damage like that, and I think they responded incredibly.
“It was an exceptional performance from us.”
Province will face the Bulls in a rematch at Newlands at 5pm on Saturday, while the other semi-final will be contested between the Sharks and Golden Lions at Kings Park at 2.30pm.@WynonaLouw