Province scored seven tries to the Pumas’ two and produced a quality first half effort after the Pumas looked promising early on, but not all of that filtered into the second half at Newlands for the hosts.
The Friday afternoon result was needed for Province after falling short against the Sharks and the Lions, though, and if they get the job done in Kimberley and Bloemfontein - where they’ll face the Cheetahs in their last regular game - that home semi-final spot is almost a certainty.
After the game Van Zyl said: “We know it wasn’t perfect, but this was needed going into our next game. We still have a lot of things to fix, and I think mentally, the result and the work-ons put us in a good space.”
WP coach John Dobson also felt that the game ticked both boxes -positives to take forward and areas that can still be improved: “We wanted to focus on the contact situations and we were much, much better there. Our contact was a positive and there’s still some of our X-factor coming, but we threw away a few tries. We were a little bit tight on defence, but the joy was there.”
Province won’t easily forget the tough times Griquas have put them through, with their most recent Currie Cup struggle involving Griquas having been at 44-34 defeat in 2017. Last year, although they grinded out a convincing 38-12 win at Newlands, WP produced a very poor second-half in comparison to their stunning opening stanza ... so much so that Dobson said it felt like a loss after the game.
That history will only add to the hype around this Saturday’s fixture, according to the incoming Stormers chief and Van Zyl. “There’s been great interest in this game, which I think is great for rugby,” Dobson said.
Van Zyl agreed that it’s going to be a big one: “Dobbo and I have had some bad experiences there. Maybe it’s the conditions. I also think their belief is on another level when they’re playing there. When they come here I don’t think they have the same belief. I also think they’ve got this understanding that we really don’t like going there, and that increases their belief.
“They’re playing good rugby, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.”
Dobson confirmed that they will welcome back Jaco Coetzee and SP Marais for their Kimberley contest, while Damian Willemse and Alistair Vermaak are also expected back.@WynonaLouw