VIDEO: Province to 'tweak' it for Final
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Defending champions Western Province are ready to ‘raise the bar’ one more time to go back-to-back.
They maintained their unbeaten run with an epic 35-32 extra-time win over the Blue Bulls at Newlands at the weekend in what was their toughest hurdle of the year.
In fact, they were one conversion away from being knocked out in regulation time, before utility back Sarel Marais slotted the match-winning penalty in the 91st minute.
Coach John Dobson said he wanted his team to be ‘stress tested’ in the semifinal – after cruising through the league round of the competition – but not quite as much as the Bulls did.
The WP coach said they ‘learnt’ a lot – especially in terms of team selection.
“There are going to be one or two changes,” he said, without mentioning specific players.
“With the depth we have, we have one or two guys on ice, who might come in,
“We will have to look at recovery and we have a fair amount of reserve strength – so we can tweak things.
“We are going to make a couple tweaks.”
Province will be without replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet, who damaged his knee, but veteran No.9 Jano Vermaak will return from injury for the Final.
Dobson admitted that the Sharks do bring some different challenges than the Bulls did.
“They are really good when they get momentum,” he said, adding: “They start off-loading a lot.
“It means the gainline battle is really, really important.
“They have a good pack of forwards, with four Springboks in the front row.
“Scrum time is an area [where we will be tested], but the most important aspect is that gainline battle.
“They are direct, and if they win that battle they start offloading.”
By Jan de Koning