Rugby / 27 September 2015, 2:22pm / ANA Sports Reporter
Cape Town – Despite trailing at the interval, Western Province coach John Dobson would be a relieved man after his side a comprehensive 50-19 scoreline in their Currie Cup match at Newlands on Saturday.
The defending Currie Cup champions found themselves trailing by 15-19 at half-time, before scoring five tries in the second half and, also, keeping the Pumas scoreless for the entire second period.
“I knew it would take over 40 minutes to get into the game, but I certainly didn’t expect us to be so bad in the first half,” admitted Dobson afterwards, his team finishing with seven tries on the day after an excellent second-half display.
“What was really disappointing was how our line-out malfunctioned. We’ve been around 90 percent all season long (with our line-out) and that really cost us in the first half.
“Our tackling was also poor… it was a really poor first-half effort. You expect to subdue a team, as we knew we had to do today against a good Pumas side, but we weren’t putting them under any pressure in order to (subdue them).
“I knew this would be a threat to us, after the highs of last week, and it took a real conversation at half-time to get them to respond and we saw a very different team out there in the second half.”
Their slow start aside, Dobson believes the WP Class of 2015 is heading in the right direction as the business-end of the Absa Currie Cup gets nearer and nearer.
“The Pumas said beforehand how they needed to win this one to stay in semifinal contention, so there was an element of desperation from them… but, that said, it still does not excuse our first-half performance,” said Dobson.
“I thought it was much worse than that first half against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, (only) then we made some silly errors to make it look even worse. We finished the game poorly and I was a bit irritated by that. I don’t want to be overly-critical, but with our second-half dominance we could perhaps have gotten even more out of the game in the end.
“But, on the whole, I think we’re building and growing (as a team)… that’s exciting for me. (And) I think we will be up for it even more next week against the Lions – a crucial game for us in terms of the overall log and that fight for a home semi-final.”
Province picked up this win, their sixth of the season, without late injury-withdrawal Chris Cloete, as well as the likes of Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Rynhardt Elstadt, Chris Cloete, Kurt Coleman, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe.
“If you take our second-half performance and add in a Steven Kitshoff, Rynhardt Elstadt, Chris Cloete, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe… it’s quite a bit of quality to add into the group so that’s exciting,” said Dobson.
“We have a few selection issues, most notably at loose forward and our back three, but I guess those are nice headaches to have.”
Starting scrumhalf – and try-scorer – Jano Vermaak limped off near the end of the first half with a tight groin, but WP boss Dobson will issue his usual injury report on Monday ahead of next Friday’s massive clash against the Golden Lions in Joburg (6pm kickoff).