For these 'laaities' to win in Bloemfontein... I thought they showed plenty of guts
He may have picked up a few grey hairs, but Western Province coach Allister Coetzee was very pleased with his young team's 29-22 Currie Cup victory over the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.
The Men from the Cape overturned a 13-19 half-time deficit to pick up their second win on the road this season and, in the process, move to the top of the Currie Cup log.
WP find themselves on 15 points - just like the Lions and Sharks - with only points difference ensuring they end the first round of the competition as top of the standings.
"It was a pleasing result," admitted Coetzee from Bloemfontein on Sunday morning.
"It was a tense match, but for these 'laaities' to win in Bloemfontein... I thought they showed plenty of guts in a very tough match.
"It was especially pleasing how we fought back in the second half. We had to be physical but, at the same time, we had to be smart.
"Like I said during the week, it was never going to be a case of just pitching up and winning (in Bloemfontein), but the guys coped well under pressure and showed a great attitude," he added.
At one stage in the first half the young WP side was without captain Deon Fourie and flank partner Rynhardt Elstadt (both in the blood bin), but the remaining senior players stood up in their absence.
One such player was inside centre Marcel Brache - this website's Man of the Match - who gave a one-handed off-load to Gio Aplon for the first try and scored the eventual match-winner just short of the 70-minute mark.
Said Coetzee: "For Marcel it's been about gaining experience [these past few years].
"He's now in his second full season of Currie Cup rugby and you can see his progress every time he plays. He's our tactician in the back and he makes good calls - even under pressure."
Of course, Coetzee, as always, remains very mindful that his young side - which included debutant Pat Howard (from the Under-21 ranks) - is still not the finished product and the WP coaching staff will be targeting a few areas for improvement ahead of next week's Sharks clash in Durban.
"There's still a bit of work to be done," he said.
"For starters, we conceded too many penalties [15 points conceded came from penalties], we turned the ball over a few too many times and we need to work on our bind at scrum time against a smart Cheetahs pack; I'm sure Matt (Proudfoot) will do so this week.
"We set the standard against the Bulls and we really want to stick to that," stressed the WP boss.
WP captain Deon Fourie was also full of praise for his side.
"I am very proud of the team. We knew it would be difficult in Bloemfontein, but the guys pulled through and proved their worth. The victory over the Cheetahs really means a lot," Fourie said.
They now have to travel to Durban to take on the Sharks, and still need to remedy some aspects of their play before their next outing.
"There were some silly mistakes, no doubt. We need to have a look and rectify them before travelling to Durban. The Sharks is another big game for us. They always come with a bang and we will have to be at our best," Fourie added.
* Just one player picked up an injury against the Cheetahs.
Rynhardt Elstadt (flank) suffered a few bumps and bruises. He will be given time to recover and will be assessed again during the week.
Fullback Joe Pietersen (wrist) and flank Tyrone Holmes (shoulder) are up for selection this week.
Wing Ederies Arendse (shoulder - rotator cuff) is still unavailable for selection.
* Cheetahs captain and centre Robert Ebersohn's side was again on the receiving end after they came up short last weekend against the Sharks.
The Cheetahs failed to play the full 80 minutes, something that is starting to become a real problem for the Bloemfontein-based side.
"Obviously we are very disappointed. We couldn't produce the goods against the Sharks and now we came up short against Province as well. We wanted to give our home crowd a victory. We wanted to make it right, but we couldn't. It is very disappointing," Ebersohn said.
The home side led at the break, but squandered their lead and now find themselves in the fourth position on the standings, just one point in front of Griquas.
"We did pretty well in the first half, even though we didn't start well from the kick-off. We ended the first 40 minutes in a good spot and needed to take it from there, but we didn't. Province defended pretty good too, so all credit to them.
"We now must focus on taking on the Lions here at home. We owe them one and what better place them Bloemfontein to pay our dues," Ebersohn added.