Luke Watson often emphasises that he does not like using cliché’s, but he knows that the next three weekends can be a matter of “make or break” for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.
Province play the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, with matches against the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs to follow.
Stephen Nell reports for Sport 24 that the Sharks and Blue Bulls will be strengthened significantly by returning Springboks later in the Currie Cup, which puts pressure on WP to make hay while the sun shines.
“We do approach it on a game by game basis, but can really place ourselves in a strong position by doing well in the next three games,” said Watson.
“The next three games are hugely important and Saturday’s against the Sharks will be one of the toughest. We will be completing the second round with more home games, which may be a little easier.”
Province coach Allister Coetzee is probably right in describing the Sharks as favourites before Saturday’s game, but there is enough confidence among his players to approach the match in a positive frame of mind.
“I would not say we are feeling like underdogs, but that is probably the case if you analyse it on paper,” said Watson.
“The Sharks are at the top of the log and we are second, while they are also playing on their home ground. They are a well-balanced side and I expect them to attack from everywhere.
“With Rory Kockott and Juan Martin Hernandez possibly being added to their side, they will get an injection of strike power and experience. However, we are making good progress. We realise this is going to be a tough challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
The only change to the WP starting line-up this week is Chris Jack’s return at lock in place of the injured Adriaan Fondse.
Flyhalf Peter Grant again did not train on Wednesday afternoon, leaving Joe Pietersen to run the moves at flyhalf. Nevertheless, WP announced that Grant would be the flyhalf.
Coetzee feels he has to manage his players’ bumps and bruises.
Props Wicus Blaauw and Brock Harris also watched the session from the sidelines.
“We all know Bash can defend, so why use him in a defensive session?” said Coetzee.
He added that it would be “another three weeks” before Willem de Waal would be available again.Tweet