The Falcons, still hurting from their 14-83 drubbing at the hands of the Lions, are set to run into another big union on a mission – which could result in an equally intense humiliation.
Peter Murison writes for Rugby 365 that Rudi Joubert’s cast of Falcons head to Newlands on Saturday to clash with a Western Province team desperate to stay in the play-off race – still nine points adrift of the fourth-placed Lions and with just four rounds in which to make up the backlog.
That is one of the reasons why coach Alistair Coetzee will not hesitate to again use all his available Springboks.
However, they also owe the Falcons a good beating, after coming a right cropper in the first half of the season in Brakpan – when the Falcons tackled WP into submission and won 38-32.
That painful experience, by a team derived of all Province’s top players, is edged in the minds of Coetzee’s men.
The Falcons team arriving in Cape Town on Saturday is far cry from the confident unit that upstaged WP. And the Cape Town men are fresh from handing defending champions Free State Cheetahs 35-17 hiding.
However, rather than worry about whether or not his team might be a little complacent against a Falcons team fast slipping towards a mire of mediocrity, the Province coach said he was expecting them to take the next step in their process to being as good as they can be.
“No real concern,” Coetzee said when questioned about the possibility of WP being complacent, adding: “Sometime you fall into a trap of being over confident, especially after the Falcons gave away more than 0 points last week, but we will not fall into that trap.
“The whole mental preparation for the Falcons is that we need to improve our own game. On attack we’d like to be more active and we’d like to take the ball through a few more phases.
“That’s our objective still, we still want to improve as a team.
“We have four training sessions this week to get things right and its another opportunity to go to the next level.
“Our focus this week is to make sure we take it through more phases and hold on to the ball.”
A Province team looking to take it up a few gears is not what the Falcons would want to encounter, especially not since that team will again feature almost all of the Tri-Nations Boks and several other internationals.
Despite some suggestions that the likes of captain Jean de Villiers and Conrad Jantjes might be needing a break this weekend, Coetzee said he was not planning on resting anyone.
He added that the players themselves seemed too keen to play for him to then leave them out.
“If guys wanted to be rested they would not come training in these conditions,” he said after a training run in a wet and windy Cape Town.
“They would have one look at the weather and say: ‘look coach I’m a Springbok and I do need rest. No, they are all looking forward to playing,” Coetzee added.
Coetzee said last week’s drubbing of the Cheetahs was a “long overdue” performance for a group of players that they hard worked hard, even through the bad weeks.
“It not just after the Cheetahs result, it was long overdue,” he said of the morale boosting triumph in Bloemfontein.
“We haven’t had a win in many weeks. It is something that we really been working towards, even before the Boks came back. We played some good rugby and we didn’t win, so it was a long time coming and its nice to have a win under the belt and for the players’ efforts that they get some reward.”Tweet