AUDIO: Dobson admits selection mistake
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Poor line-out execution and questionable positional changes were the just some reasons why the Western Province failed to retain the Currie Cup.
The Western Province took a huge gamble by handing the No.12 jersey to Springbok Damian Willemse, while Josh Stander slotted into the pivotal role for the final against the Sharks.
Many pundits questioned the decision to move Willemse from flyhalf to inside centre, however, the coach was adamant that it could be a potential partnership that could only benefit the WP.
However, following the 12-17 defeat to the Sharks, it is clear that head coach John Dobson’s gamble did not reap any reward.
Instead, Stander’s usual tactical kicking was far from pin-point, while Willemse appeared out of place in the middle of the park.
“We were poor in lots of decision-making positions,” Dobson told reporters at Newlands Stadium, adding: “Having said that I have to admit picking Josh [Stander] at flyhalf didn’t pay off, neither did playing Damian Willemse at 12.
“But I don’t think anybody in the team thinks he had a good game,” he added.
WP came into the final on the back of six league wins and a hard-fought 35-32 extra-time semifinal win over the Blue Bulls.
Their superiority on attack and defence throughout the season – 40 tries scored and 145 points conceded – made them undeniable favourites.
However, the coach lamented his side’s ineffectiveness at the line-outs as the ‘overriding’ reason why claiming their 35th title was an impossible task.
“It was by far and away our worst performance of the season and the Sharks thoroughly deserved to win.
“What is important is to look at the facts and not emotions. If you are going to lose eight line-outs‚ you are going to make something like another 40 tackles.
“It’s very hard to defend turnovers, especially when we were are going backwards and they are going forward at such a speed.
“We have got to look at it properly. I know there was one overthrow, one underthrow, one wrong call, and so it seemed to be a combination,” he tried to explain, adding: “We should have gone to a bail-out ball, that is making it really simple. We kept trying to push it to the middle and back-ball to attack from. We should have been more conservative there.
“The overriding thing is that if we had won six of those line-outs, it could have been a different result,”
“Truly we never looked like scoring. The only time we looked vaguely like scoring was when wing Sergeal [Petersen] chased a kick and it bounced the only way possible for him not to score,” said Dobson.
By Leezil Hendricks