The time for excuses is over. Western Province have to forget about the numerous Springboks that are not with them, while coach Allister Coetzee will have to motivate his team to perform as they can in tomorrow’s vital Currie Cup clash against neighbours Boland at Newlands.
Ashfak Mohamed reports in the Cape Times that the former Bok backline coach realises that his team have got to start playing to their potential after they lost to Griquas and the Valke in the last two weeks. “People have said a lot about this team and how poor we are,” Coetzee said this week.
“But we must give those people an answer on the field. One can come with a lot of excuses about the last two weeks, but one must just go out there and rectify it on the field. That’s the only place where we can talk. No one will listen to us, as it will sound like an excuse.
“We have looked at our problem areas and mistakes, and now we have an opportunity to fix it on Saturday. We’ve (also) got a proud record at Newlands this year. We last lost there in February, to the Crusaders. We know we have disappointed ourselves and the spectators over the last two weeks.
“So we are very serious about the game. We know what’s going to come. We have a lot of respect for Boland. They are a well-organised side. They play good rugby.”
Coetzee said that he has told his players to not be too elaborate this week. “We have simplified things. We have looked at how we want to play at certain times. But we have to deal with the pressure. At times, the pressure will dictate how we play. A mistake or an unforced error puts one on the back foot,” he said.
“We have said that we can’t play catch-up rugby. We must take our opportunities and round off. We must also enjoy ourselves on the field.”
Boland coach Deon Davids told the Cape Times this week that he was anticipating a “quick game”. Davids packed his team with speedy players such as wings Renfred Dazel and John Daniels, who returns after being rested against the Bulls last week, as well as mobile SA Emerging team openside flank Zolani Mofu, who is a fetcher of note. His battle with WP’s new openside, Francois Louw, could have a huge bearing on the match.
“We are expecting a quick game, so we need more speed in our team,” said Davids. “That’s another reason why I have two loose forwards on the bench. Although WP lost their last two games, we have not spoken about that. We are worrying about our own game.”
Coetzee is confident that Louw will do well in his new position, but he is reluctant to take the favourites tag. “Flo is probably our best stealer in the side at this point in time and he plays towards the ball. He is also a great ball carrier. I’ve got no doubt that Flo will do a great job there,” he said.
“(But) it is going to be tough. They know our calls and they are our neighbours, our sister union. But we have learned some hard lessons. This week we need to move forward and get to where we want to be,” he said.
“At the end of the day, 22 players must go to Newlands with an attitude and play to their potential.
“Boland will come with guys who have been a part of the Stormers and WP set-ups, but if we go there and let fear build up because of that, then we must think again. Now we need the guys to put in the effort on the field.”
Meanwhile, WP wing Zhahier Ryland’s imminent loan deal to the Valke has fallen through after the two unions could not agree to terms. WP Rugby managing director Rob Wagner told the Cape Times that WP had requested that the Valke pay a portion of Ryland’s salary for the deal to go through, but the Valke could not meet that demand.
Ryland’s agent, Rasthoem Simons, said that it was “really unfortunate” that the speedy wing could not play provincial rugby after enjoying a good Vodacom Cup.
“Zhahier, for some reason, hasn’t been able to break into the team thus far,” he said. “He is still contracted to WP until the end of October 2008 and we will continue to explore other loan opportunities, as the player’s current form warrants playing Currie Cup rugby ahead of club rugby.”Tweet