We are going to keep encouraging what we started in the Currie Cup
Although the pressure is on as the play-offs approach, Western Province will not abandon their more attacking approach in the Currie Cup.
The Cape outfit topped the Super Rugby table this year employing a low-risk approach that was based around their disciplined defensive system, but the Currie Cup has been used as a platform to develop their attacking potency which is something they are committed to until the bitter end.
That positive attitude did not exactly pay off against the Lions at Newlands last week when Province failed to score a try despite enjoying most of the territory and possession, but backline coach Rob Fleck is convinced that learning from performances like that will only make them stronger going forward.
The WP coaching staff were far from impressed with their side's inability to protect their possession last week, which is a lesson that Fleck hopes will sink in fast with the knock-out phase of the competition approaching.
"We turned over too much ball, we had 29 turnovers in that game - four from set-piece and 25 from general attack.
"You can't win any game with that amount of turnovers and then there is the fact that we didn't capitalise on the opportunities that presented themselves," he said.
Fleck said that although disappointing, the high error-rate will not discourage Province from trying some new things with the ball in hand as they are committed to developing their game.
"We are pushing our attacking game and we are trying things so we are going to make mistakes and poor decisions, but we have got to keep encouraging because we are on the right track.
"Our youngsters are going to make mistakes, they are going to try things that don't come off but we would rather have them making mistakes and trying things than not.
"We saw in Super Rugby we were pretty conservative and the whole sort of approach was that we wanted to play an error-free game and it worked for us but at the end of the day if we want to improve on our attack you have to try things and you are going to be making errors, especially young players," he said.
This does not mean that sloppy performances are acceptable, and Fleck made it clear that he expects his side to sharpen up and show that they can be more accurate when the pressure is on in the coming weeks.
"They have got to learn to respect the ball a bit more and if they do then we will beat most teams.
"There is going to be a definite change in attitude in terms of respect for the ball. Young players need to understand that this game is all about possession and making the least amount of mistakes, especially when you get to the later stage of the competition and semifinals and finals.
"In terms of our mindset we are going to keep encouraging what we started in the Currie Cup, the rewards have been far greater than the negatives," he said.
By Michael de Vries