VIDEO: 'I think we are gone'
Western Province will be playing for ‘pride’ when they host the Sharks in the final round of the Currie Cup’s leagued action.
Western Province coach John Dobson did not mask his obvious disappointment with the loss in Kimberley at the weekend.
The unerring boot of George Whitehead and unbounded enthusiasm on defence saw Griquas score their sixth-successive Currie Cup win over WP this past Friday.
Coming back from a 7-19 deficit (14-19 at half-time) to dominate the second half, they outscored the visitors by five tries to four and win 38-29.
Whitehead contributed 13 points – five conversions and a late penalty to seal a bonus-point win that allowed Griquas to move into fourth place on the standings, ahead of a WP that dropped out of the play-off zone.
Another player who was in fine form was Griquas captain Hanru Sirgel – a match-high eight carries, three linebreaks and eight tackles.
Having harboured hopes of making the play-offs, Dobson conceded that they are likely destined for minor placings.
He also paid credit to Griquas, who he said were ‘outstanding’ in some aspects of their game.
Dobson admitted that it may have been a ‘mistake’ to field as many of his United Rugby Championship players as he did – six days after losing to Munster in the Final.
“Maybe I should have stuck with the youngsters that played last week,” he said, adding: “Pushing the URC guys into this game after the hype and the emotion of the Final, maybe that was a mistake.”
Dobson said the team’s malfunctioning line-outs allowed Griquas to stay within striking distance in the first half, which was dominated by the visitors.
(WATCH as Western Province coach John Dobson unpacks his team’s loss to Griquas in Kimberley and next week’s final home game against the Sharks …)
After the break, the Province players lacked the intensity required against a fired-up Griquas.
“I don’t know if it was [a] mental [issue] or the guys couldn’t make the adjustment,” he told @rugby365com.
“It is a clear sign of a team that wasn’t really at the races.”
Hosting the table-topping Sharks in the final round of league action next week, WP needs a number of results top go their way to reach the play-offs.
However, Dobson wasn’t too optimistic about Lady Luck smiling at them.
“I think we are gone,” he said.
“The [lost] bonus point at the end [was crucial],” he said of the George Whitehead penalty on the stroke of fulltime that took the losing margin beyond seven points.
He admitted they needed a bonus-point win anyway to keep their destiny in their own hands, but that penalty and the loss of an extra bonus point means the play-offs are now probably beyond Province’s reach.
“There is a lot of pride,” he said of the Province brand, adding: “We don want to finish on the low of what happened the last two weekends – [losses to the Lions and Griquas].
“Make no mistake, there were some tough words said in the dressing room and there will be a response from that next week.”