No.10 is still a 'challenge' says WP coach
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Western Province’s semi-final exit has highlighted the team’s long-standing flyhalf problem.
Western Province suffered a 9-19 loss to the Sharks during the Currie Cup semi-final match at the Newlands Stadium on Saturday.
The match, that was billed as WP’s final match at Newlands, was certainly a disappointing farewell to the Grand old dame.
Despite dominating possession and territory in the first half of the contest, the hosts failed to capitalise on their territorial advantage.
WP’s decision-making was another troubling feat, they opted to put eight kickable penalties into touch, which played into the visitors’ hands.
In contrast, Sharks took their scoring opportunities when it mattered and courtesy of Curwin Bosch’s boot booked a spot in the final.
The Durbanites were quick out of the blocks and led 9-0 after only 12 minutes, with Bosch slotting three long-range penalty goals.
For Sharks Bosch’s 60 metre-kicks are very encouraging ahead of the finals against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
But for Province, it amplified their longstanding flaw in the kicking department.
Tim Swiel has been the man in No.10 jersey for the Currie Cup season and has enjoyed a couple of good games, which include a last-gasp penalty kick against Cheetahs for a home-semifinal spot.
While Dobson’s alternative option, Damien Willemse has shown during the Super Rugby Unlocked campaign he struggles to cope with the flyhalf responsibilities.
The 22-year-old was moved to fullback – after Warrick Gelant’s injury in the Currie Cup Round one match – and has been in impressive form.
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“I think No.10 has been a challenge for us for a little while now,” Dobson told reporters after the match.
“We haven’t really settled there. We were pushing Damian and he went back (to fullback) and he has done well at the back, so we possibly haven’t got that right,”
Dobson admitted it would be helpful to have a kicker of Bosch’s calibre in their set-up.
“In the first-half Curwin was knocking one over from close to their 10m line and then you have us getting a penalty on the halfway line and having to go for touch – so it does change things a bit.
“[The Sharks’ 9-0 lead] put us under enormous pressure – and if you sitting the coaches’ box and you’re 0-9 down your big fear is 0-16, so you start to get more and more conservative and try to claw yourself back into the game.
“Nonetheless, I think we did well to claw ourselves back, but it would be nice to have that in the arsenal because pretty much every other team have one, so it is something we have to look at,”
Province are expected to have completed their move to Cape Town Stadium by the time the Rainbow Cup gets underway in April.