We know it’s going to be one massive battle
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is wary of the potential pitfalls that await his team in Saturday’s game against Griquas in Kimberley.
After edging the Cheetahs 15-14 in typically wet Cape Town weather last Saturday, the defending champions will be met by a notoriously dry Kimberley pitch this weekend.
The conditions will be ideal for running rugby, but Coetzee on Monday stressed the importance of laying a solid foundation up front before looking to attack with width.
“Griquas are quite a big, physical side. You can’t think because the conditions are dry you’re going to play from side to side there, you can get bullied. You need an all-round performance to beat Griquas in Kimberley,” said Coetzee.
“We’ve got to keep our approach the same. It’s got to be physical and direct. It’s going to be a battle at the gainline, so it’s important that we get dominance and earn the right to take it wide.
“We know it’s going to be one massive battle. For us it’s about building momentum and not slip in the things that we’ve improved on last week. That’s what consistency is about and that’s what you need in this competition whether you’re home or away from home.”
Coetzee said he was pleased with the improvement his charges showed in their come-from behind win following their disappointing home draw with the Blue Bulls in their season opener.
“The big thing from the Cheetahs game is how we exited in wet weather. We got out of our half very clinically. The second thing is our discipline, I’m very pleased with the discipline compared to the first game, and the third thing is the way we scrummed. Those aspects put us in a position to win the game,” he said.
Coetzee suggested that he would keep faith in the halfback pairing of Louis Schreuder and Gary van Aswegen - should the latter recover from a shoulder knock - after the duo’s error rate increased in the latter stages of the game for the second successive week.
“There’s room for improvement, to get the timing and decision-making a bit better, but I’m pleased with how they’ve gone,” Coetzee said of the inexperienced combination.
He added that fit-again Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg would likely continue his role as impact player.
“Scarra [Ntubeni] is playing fantastic rugby and Tiaan’s not ready to play 80 minutes. He’s coming off a long lay-off and I’ve got to make sure he gets game time to build his confidence and match fitness, so at the moment they complement each other nicely,” said Coetzee.