WP survive pressure test

Sun, 18 Aug 2013 11:47
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Western Province coach Allister Coetzee praised the character his team showed to fight back and claim a narrow win over the Cheetahs.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee praised the character his team showed to fight back and claim a narrow win over the Cheetahs.

The defending champions were forced to come from behind at a wet Newlands on Saturday after the visitors scored two early tries to race out to a 14-0 lead.

However, the Cape side kept their composure well and a late try from skipper Deon Fourie saw them snatch victory to go level with the Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs with six log points after the opening two rounds of the Currie Cup.

Coetzee said that he was pleased with the fighting spirit his side showed to hit back at a quality Cheetahs side to get the result.

"We have been under pressure after drawing against the Bulls at home and when you are staring down the barrel at 14-3 down in your second home game it is always going to be difficult to get back but we managed it.

"It shows the character of the side, once you are in a position like that some teams don't come back, and other teams come close.

"It is a strong Cheetahs side if you look beyond the front row it is almost a full Super Rugby team and they had us under pressure but we coped well with the pressure," he said.

The Province boss said that his team's discipline in their own half and the way they handled the Cheetahs' kicking game in the wet conditions had been key to their revival.

"It was always going to come down to the kicking game and making sure that you put pressure on the opposition with your kicks by using you pace and contesting.

"I think tonight we hardly made a mistake in our own half and got out of there really well.

"By half-time we had made 40 tackles and missed only three. We just slipped off one tackle and they scored but in general it was a solid defensive performance.

"When they kicked on us I think Cheslin Kolbe and Gio Aplon did really well. Some poor kicks got punished and put us on the front foot again.

"We handled that well, and I am glad because this is Cape Town, this is wintertime and this is Newlands so we have been training in these conditions and I am really happy that we handled it better tonight," he explained.

Province enjoyed dominance in the scrums, although Nic Groom was penalised for not putting the ball in straight and Coetzee said that they will look to get that right urgently.

"I don't think there is an issue, there is a directive and a clear law that the ball must be put in down the middle of the scrum. It is not a matter of having empathy or sympathy, just stick to the law.

"Because nines are used to doing that and getting away with it I don't think they understand. If that is what they want then that is how we have got to play it," he said.

Although Pat Howard and Gary van Aswegen went off with injuries, Coetzee expects both of them to be fine for next week's clash with Griquas.

"Pat Howard had a tight hamstring so he came off as a precaution and Gary van Aswegen took a knock to the shoulder but he should be fine.
 

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