Western Province are determined to avoid another slump in form, which could be costly, when they take on the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday.
Following their surprisingly large loss to the Sharks last week, WP can’t afford to lose to the Cheetahs in this Currie Cup crunch.
Defeat will negate all the momentum and early season work, which saw them top the bookies’ list as tournament favourites.
Both Province coach Allister Coetzee and captain Anton van Zyl acknowledged that the team let their standards slip last week and it will require a dramatic improvement if their are to avoid coming unstuck again.
The Cheetahs have taken cognizance of the manner in which the Sharks upstaged the much-fancied WP outfit – a direct approach with ball in hand and rock solid defence.
Having relinquished their first place on the standings, a second successive defeat will open the door for the chasing pack – which include the third-placed Blue Bulls.
WP captain Anton van Zyl said his team simply wasn’t up to scratch in Durban.
“Quite a few areas went wrong, but a lot of it came down to unforced errors,” Van Zyl told a media gathering this week.
He felt that the Cheetahs have similar qualities to the Sharks, with a set of forwards that are capable of exploiting any weaknesses.
“Teams in this competition don’t let you get away with errors,” Van Zyl said, adding: “We were nowhere close to our standards and we got punished for that.
“This Friday has less to do with who we play and more about focusing on looking at how we play and putting things right.”
The coach, Coetzee, spoke of a “bad day at the office” last week, but said they were not panicking after just one loss.
“We put a lot of hard work in this season to be leading the league stage, but it’s also a reality that you’re not going to win all your games and this was a timely kick under the butt for us to focus on our basics again.
“It’s a matter of the side just having to refocus and pull together again, our plan is working, we just need to stick to it,” Coetzee said
He spoke of the “physical challenge” that the Cheetahs will present.
“It is the time of the season when teams pick up injuries. We’ve been fortunate in terms of the depth that we’re creating in terms of young players.”
He added the Cheetahs never are an easy game.
“They are also looking for a big win away from home. They’ll always come prepared. We’re expecting a tough game.
“We’ve done the job in Bloemfontein last time and I’m sure they’ll come with the attitude that they want to put one over us in Cape Town. It’ll be a big physical challenge.”
The Cheetahs have made no secret of the fact that they will be looking to replicate the Sharks tactics against WP.
Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie said the Sharks showed in both the Super 14 (against the Stormers) and last week – both games they won against the men from Cape Town – that if you play direct, with your forwards, you out Province under pressure.
“The Province seldom stack the breakdown, ads they spread out on defence,” Fourie told the Afrikaans daily, Volksblad.
“The Sharks showed you can pull their defenders in by playing more direct, creating space out wide,” Fourie added.
2007: Free State Cheetahs won 45-13, Bloemfontein
2007: Western Province won 34-20, Cape Town
2008: Western Province won 9-3, Cape Town
2008: Western Province win 35-17, Bloemfontein
2009: Western Province win 19-13, Cape Town
2009: Free State Cheetahs won 33-31, Bloemfontein
2010: Western Province won 25-11, Bloemfontein
Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjies, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Koster, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 18 JD Moller, 19 De Kock Steenkamp, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Conrad Hoffman, 22 Lionel Cronje.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 WP Nel, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Riaan Smit.
Date: Friday, August 27
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Pro Legoete
Assistant referees: Rasta Rashivenga, Eugenia Daniels
TMO: JC Fortuin
This article is courtesy of rugby365.comTweet