CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson says their shock defeat to the Golden Lions at the weekend means they will have to go “full out” when they travel to Durban for their meeting with the Sharks on Saturday.
The Lions’ come-from-behind win at Ellis Park has not only added extra excitement to the last league game of the 2017 Currie Cup, but it’s also rolled a pebble or two into Province’s path to a home semi-final.
Province are second on the table, behind comfortable log-leaders the Sharks.
So, WP have to win in KwaZulu-Natal to host a playoff match at Newlands, and it won’t be an easy task. And Dobson is well aware of that.
“We were hoping to go into Durban with a win to get a home semi, and to give some of the guys a run and give a break to those who need it, but now we have to win in Durban, so we have to go full-out this week,” he said.
Province didn’t do themselves any favours against the Lions, and they again showed that away games are certainly a problem for them – with their only away win this season a narrow 46-45 victory over the Blue Bulls last week.
Should Province lose to the Sharks – who have already booked their home semi-final spot – they will be overtaken in second spot by either the Free State Cheetahs or the Lions.
The Bulls’ chances of making the semis aren’t as slim as they looked a week or two ago, thanks to their 64-36 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
After dominating the first half and the early part of the second, Province became their own worst enemies against the Lions as the mistakes started rolling in, while their defence didn’t do them any favours either.
And the Province coach praised the Lions, while he added he was “very disappointed” in his team.
“The Lions never stopped coming. We started giving away a lot of penalties in the wrong areas of the field and didn’t stick to a plan.
“I’m very disappointed, but credit to the Lions, they never stopped coming.
“We butchered a lot of chances, and to say our lineouts misfired would be an understatement. When you lose two lineouts five yards out, there’s a 30 or 40 percent scoring opportunity.”