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WP hope to rain on Sharks' parade

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 17:08
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Conditions were tough and they are quite a well-oiled machine at the moment
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With more rain expected at Kings Park this weekend Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has a few cunning plans to deal with the wet conditions.

The Sharks have gone unbeaten in Durban this year on their journey to another home final and have had to deal with some shocking weather along the way, so the predicted rain for Saturday should come as little surprise to either side.

One of those victories in the wet weather was a 43-27 defeat of Coetzee's team, and the Western Province boss revealed that his side are relishing the opportunity to put right what went wrong that day.

"I see it is predicted to have up to 13 millimetres this weekend. Fortunately we had a bit of an outing in the Currie Cup there, experiencing those conditions and I am sure we have learned from that.

"We actually had a plan should we face it again. After our review of that match we stumbled on quite a few ideas, so hopefully they can work for us this time around," he said.

Coetzee explained that if his side are to have any chance of upsetting the Sharks on their damp home soil, they will have to be far more accurate than they were in their last-minute semifinal victory over the Golden Lions last week.

"The puddles on the field doesn't make it easy, it is a different challenge altogether, especially the bounce of the ball - it skids and is sometimes quite difficult to read, so you must have played in conditions like that to understand it.

"It is important that we execute better. I wasn't happy with our performance although we won on the weekend. It was definitely not a good performance from us, we have had a hard look at ourselves and we are under no illusions - if we play like we did in the first 60 minutes then we will get beaten comprehensively.

"It is a final so it is about being the team that pitches up, makes the least mistakes and takes their opportunities, and for 80 minutes," he said.

Coetzee was full of praise for the Sharks' comprehensive victory over the Blue Bulls last week and admitted that John Plumtree's side do not have many areas of weakness at the moment.

"To keep a side like the Bulls out and restrict them to three points in a match it must be done by a great plan and obviously one that they have worked on for the last couple of weeks or months.

"Conditions were tough and they are quite a well-oiled machine at the moment. They will get it right, there are a few things that they will look at and rectify but I think it boils down to execution on the day.

"I think across the field they have got solid depth, they have got all of their players bar Bismarck [Du Plessis] ready for this occasion once again and we have got to make sure we pitch up and win the little battles on the day," he said.

The Western Province coach said that having an in-form Pat Lambie operating behind such a strong pack makes the Sharks formidable opponents, but backed his side to rise to the occasion.

"It will be a massive challenge, they have got a Springbok front row there and I must say that those other youngsters have come on in leaps and bounds.

"It is not just the front row, but also as a pack they are quite a big physical pack so they have got a good set-piece so that is a challenge and that is one of the battles that we have got to make sure we win.

"They have got a plan, they are not silly enough to underestimate anyone, they have got quality players and they have got an in-form general at the moment in Patrick Lambie who reads the game well.

"I think the players have responded well in difficult situations throughout the year so it is about them enjoying the occasion," he said.

Whilst much of the focus has been on Lambie in recent weeks, Coetzee cautioned against focusing on him alone, as the Sharks have match-winners throughout their team.

"He is playing well, I am sure he has exceeded expectation with the little rugby that he has played in the last few months he has slotted in well at flyhalf and looked like he has been playing in the position for years.

"The players has got good core skills and he always seems to have time on the ball, that says it all. My opinion about him is maybe not important but he is a well-rounded player.

"I don't think the focus will only be on Lambie, not in our system, you have got to be prepared for the impact that comes off the bench, you have got to be prepared for the intensity of the onslaught from the start, you have got to be prepared for the physicality and at the breakdown.

"That is what this game is about, there is pressure on all areas and if you focus on one player then you are going to miss Lwazi Mvovo scoring in the corner," he warned.

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