KSA Shark ©

Expect a Province shake-up

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, WP on 6 Oct 2008 at 14:50
Tagged with :

Western Province’s failure to make the Currie Cup semifinals is expected to become a rallying point as the different parties begin their sabre rattling ahead of a hotly contested presidential election at the union in December.

Gavin Rich writes in the Cape Argus that it is anticipated that Western Province Rugby Football Union president Tobie Titus will be opposed, and in the hours after WP beat the Lions 14-6 in their final league game, but fell short of their objective of winning by 19 points, there was already talk of shake-ups being on the way in an organisation many feel has been under-achieving.

But while WP performances, as the public face of the union, are sure to be used for leverage by Titus’ opponents, the real issues behind the unhappiness are probably elsewhere.

A sober analysis will show the reasons for WP’s failure in the domestic competition may lie at the feet of some of those now pushing for change.

For it was the executive members of the union who, when then-director of rugby Nick Mallett recommended the firing of Kobus van der Merwe as head coach in 2006, fought for the retention of the status quo.

Van der Merwe was eventually sacked 12 months later, which meant the changes that Mallett saw as necessary were held off for a year.

While Jean de Villiers is the first to admit it is unacceptable that a union like WP has gone two years in a row without contesting a semifinal, the situation also needs to be seen in the perspective the Province skipper offered on Saturday night.

“It takes time for a new coach to get used to his players and for those players to get used to the coach and his systems,” said De Villiers.

“We have definitely turned the corner and feel we are building towards something.

In many ways we feel we are in a similar situation now to where the Bulls were at a similar stage of Heyneke Meyer’s stint as coach there, the only difference being that we have more experience now in the playing ranks.

“This was the first year that the current coaching team worked with these players, and while we did not make the semifinals, it is highly encouraging that our full-strength side has now not lost a game since March, we have not been beaten in our last 12 games.

“Surely that shows we are headed in the right direction and that the coaches are on the right track?”

It needs to be remembered that WP’s senior professional coach Rassie Erasmus took over at a time when most of the contracting for this year had already been done.

He has consistently said that the time for his team to deliver would be in his second season, and that this one was all about establishing where the short-falls are, getting to know the systems and contracting his own squad.

Announcements on which new players will be coming to the Cape will be made over the next two months, but those who are working with the innovative Erasmus in preparing for 2009 are excited about what he has planned for the Stormers, who this year made a massive improvement in the Super 14 and went their last seven matches unbeaten.

The Currie Cup failures also need to be seen from the perspective that nine of the 14 games were played under-strength, which means it is not a proper test of the strength of the competing unions.

WP should have picked up a bonus point against the Kavaliers last week, and were under-par against Griquas, but in the full-strength phase the closest they came to being beaten was against the Lions, where they still won by eight points.

WP tried to rush things too much in that match, but from an early stage it was apparent that though Province are considerably stronger than the Lions, who are in the semis, they were going to struggle against a team well equipped to play negative rugby.

Ironically, at a time when everyone is rightly pinpointing the defeat to the Valke as the moment it went wrong for WP during the under-strength phase, the narrow win by the Blue Bulls against those opponents at Loftus last Friday showed what can happen when you play a team like the Valke with a second string combination, as WP were forced to do in Brakpan.

What really caught out WP this season was the emphasis placed on the tough opening three game sequence against the Sharks, Bulls and Cheetahs.

WP won two of those three games, a feat which exceeded initial expectations, and this led them to be complacent when they went to Kimberley for the next match, when they were surprised by the physicality of Griquas.


  • the narrow win by the Blue Bulls against those opponents at Loftus last Friday showed what can happen when you play a team like the Valke with a second string combination, as WP were forced to do in Brakpan.

    Nou praat jy kak swaar.

    If the Bulls only rested their Boks and not their whole 1st choice side then they would have klapped the Valke big time. Howcome the Sharks and Cheetahs and Lions all managed great results against the Valke when THEY were under strength?

    Rich has lost the plot.

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.10.08 15:00:34 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Ok Titus may be going, now for Wagner.

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.10.08 15:17:24 by PJLD Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    Does the Lions and Cheetahs have a second string side?

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.10.08 15:19:24 by MorneN Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : I agrees. The Valke are for all intents and purposes an amateur side. Province should not have lost that match & should have scored a bonus point against the Boland amateurs.

    All this whining from Province is getting on my nerves. They should take it on the chin and move on.

    And it’s probably a good thing that the administrators get the sack for a change.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.10.08 15:25:37 by McLovin Reply

  • @MorneN (Comment 3) :


  • Comment 5, posted at 06.10.08 15:51:10 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @PJLD (Comment 2) : Critical removal !

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.10.08 15:52:06 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Oh well dont think its all that bad. We should have made it easily but he’ll man if they cant caught a ball maybe next time I’ll bring them wingerd mandjies from Paarl.

    Serious tho I think Brits decided to play for the RooiBontes and also Human. Was also a big prob with Fondse not playing.

    BUT we have to be positive and move on. Think this will give the Bokke a nice little break of three weeks and also give Rassie three weeks to start conditioning that S14 players.

    Hopefull he’ll add a bit of Boland players like Human, Adriaanse, Hugo & Watts into the Stormers squad and start building for 2009.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.10.08 16:34:06 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 7) : what Boks? The only WP guys who really deserve to be there are de Villiers, Burger and Bekker… There’s this myth that the entire Bok team is from Province, but in reality, it’s not actually true.

    How could you honestly pick a form Bok 22 now that has more than 3 WP guys in it? Oh, wait – sorry, 4… I forgot about Ricky

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.10.08 16:41:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Rob dont get nervie bru, I am talking about Jean specific not all the Bokke, he played all season S14, 3 Nations, CC and the NH tour ahead, S14 and Lions tour. No way he’ll be able to do that and this 3 weeks break just the right medicine for a key Bok. The same with Jantjes & Schalk but he had a bit of a break with his injury.

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.10.08 16:49:42 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 9) : ah – ok.

    If I had to pick a form Bok team now, it would have about 18 Sharks in it 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.10.08 16:53:22 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Bekker had a bit of a rotation when Bakkies played and maybe will get it again when Bakkies is back for the EYT. Januarie also have FdP replacing him in some of the 3 Nations.

    I dont believe in that myth you qouting. Reality is WP & Stormers need dept, they arent at the same level in that regard to the Bulls and Sharks but they are on their way.

    Myself think players like Bekker, Fondse, Francois Louw , Peter Grant came a long way since the start of the year, adding finds like Fourie (he should have started on saturday), Joe Pieterse (he have more rugby brains then 11 x Serelis), Blaauw myself not that all doom and gloom.

    At least we went out unbeaten and I am pretty sure the Lions & Cheetahs will get hefty pakslae in the semis. No way they are better then the WP at this moment.

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.10.08 16:59:25 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Hope you lot keep it up in 2008. The one great thing about losing is that there is always a next time, winning always sweeter after some losing lessons and the Sharks hopefully had that in the past. Two hurdles to jump.

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.10.08 17:02:53 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 10) :

    Don’t be so one eyed… Butch is not a Shark any more so only 17… 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.10.08 17:05:18 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 12) : I also hope we have finally learned our lesson! 🙂

    @bryce_in_oz (Comment 13) : Brad Barritt for Bok 10!

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.10.08 17:27:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I dunno. Bekker, Incredible Schalk, Ricky, Grant, de Villiers, Jantjies…

    Oh and Watson. Not.

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.10.08 17:29:03 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Stormers will bounce back next year. Of that I have no doubt.

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.10.08 17:29:49 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 15) : Jantjes maybe… as for Grant, please no!

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.10.08 17:43:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 16) :

    But isn’t that what we here every year? And all that happens is they keep dropping without bouncing.

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.10.08 18:15:54 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) :

    Johnny-come-lately Sharks fan… 🙄

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.10.08 18:22:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) :

    Earl Rose for your money Roberto? Steyn maybe?

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.10.08 18:23:00 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) :

    Every year it’s a shitty CC but then a realtively successful Super14…

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.10.08 18:23:41 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 19) :


    @VinChainSaw (Comment 21) :

    I don’t agree with that comment at all actually. I think you guys have VASTLY underachieved in the S14 if we take the expectations that are created for them every year.

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.10.08 18:28:58 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • From the bulls site.

    First of many to come I am sure. 😉

    voltooi die volgende sin:

    SO STIL SOOS ‘N …………..
    a) muis
    b) landmyn
    c) wp ondersteuner

  • Comment 23, posted at 06.10.08 21:28:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) :
    😆 😆 😆
    @robdylan (Comment 17) :
    Weren’t you and the Arab whispering about Grant coming home and all that jazz? 😈

  • Comment 24, posted at 06.10.08 21:46:22 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 24) : I’ve changed my mind. He’s shit 🙂

  • Comment 25, posted at 06.10.08 21:50:17 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 24) :

    If he is in a decent team like the SHARKS then he will gain confidence and be far superior to everyone else.

  • Comment 26, posted at 06.10.08 22:01:09 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Grant is one of the top contenders from a pretty mediocre bunch. 👿

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.10.08 05:28:23 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • As I mentioned in another thread, Bekker should now get a serious smack against the head from someone every time he plays dirty. Gee, I hate that. What does the guys not understand about playing hard, honest rugby and being a thug? 👿

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.10.08 05:31:31 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : This is true, more of a myth than one realises. :mrgreen:

    @robdylan (Comment 10) : This is not true. It is the shark in you getting the better of you. 🙂

    @robdylan (Comment 14) : On this we differ. I have given you the benefit of the doubt since I personally had no great rating of Barritt previously. Then he was injured and the whole saga of him leaving followed. Then he came back and I am still trying to see what you are on about.

    Barritt is at best a reasonably good player. I am glad he is leaving and really hope he gets picked for England. Then we will win them that much easier.

    And he should take Freddie with him. What a clown!! 🙄

    It seems to me everything in WP are really turning around Schalk and Jean.

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.10.08 05:49:58 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 28) : Bekker a thug, you must be joking. 😯 He only start now to grow a pair. 💡

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.10.08 15:17:18 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) : Love that one. 😆

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.10.08 15:18:04 by PaarlBok Reply


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