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Coetzee keeping champagne on ice

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:00
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We are playing against the best side in SA next week
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Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has moved swiftly to dispel suggestions that his team will launch into premature celebrations after advancing to the Currie Cup Final.

If they go on to beat the Sharks in Durban this coming Saturday, it will end a decade-long drought, with the Cape Town outfit last having tasted victory in South Africa's premier domestic competition with back-to-back triumphs in 2000 and 2001.

The Sharks have had more recent success, having won the competition in 2008 and 2010.

Province, taking advantage of the naive tactics by the Golden Lions, scored a later try from a line-out maul and secure a 21-16 win - which knocked the defending champions out of this year's race.

While the never-say-die attitude of WP deserves reward, the Lions will be kicking themselves for their naive approach that often gifted the visitors opportunities - including setting up the line-out that ultimately resulted in the winning try.

The Province coach, Coetzee, described the victory as one of the best he had experienced during his tenure, but was adamant they would keep the champagne on ice.

Coetzee said they faced an uphill battle against the Sharks, who beat the Blue Bulls 20-3 in Durban in the weekend's other semifinal.

"We are playing against the best side in South Africa next weekend - the Sharks are an unbelievable side," he said.

"To hold out the Bulls to get only three points is quite telling."

He said it would take an extraordinary effort by his team to beat the Durbanites in their own backyard.

"We will need probably all 22 players to be on the field at the same time," Coetzee joked.

Province's victory in the semifinal capped a superb day for the Union as their junior teams also advanced to the finals of their respective competitions.

"It is just a proud moment for Western Province rugby, all three of our sides have gone through to finals - the Under-19 team won at home, the Under-21 side have gone to the Final [of their age group competition] and now the Currie Cup side," he said.

Coetzee was also full of praise for his team's attitude in Johannesburg.

"What stood out was the character in the side, the way they stayed connected throughout the game, and the way they never gave up," Coetzee said.

"It shows there is a refusal to be defeated in the side and it is something that makes me so proud."

The Capetonians showed immense temperament, snatching victory on the full-time whistle through a mammoth driving maul.

"It was a fantastic win, but one can't get carried away while there is still one more game to go," he said.

The Province mentor hailed the character shown by his charges after the match looked to be lost with two minutes left on the clock.

The visitors then set up a driving maul, more than 15 metres from the line, with captain Deon Fourie scoring from the back to secure a final berth against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

Coetzee conceded his side had some luck on their side as the Lions failed to convert four of their penalty attempts.

Province's performance was far from polished, he admitted, but converted their opportunities to go away with the spoils.

"The Lions could have led at half-time and it was a poor performance from us in the first 30 minutes, but we regrouped at half-time and we stayed in the moment," Coetzee said.

"We got the sniff in the latter stage of the second half where we found space and we started to attack with width."

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