Why WP are sticking to their guns

Wed, 04 Sep 2013 14:25
Large coetzee wp.jpg630 Large damian de allende  wp charg Large gioaplonwptraining Large deonfourieallistercoetzeewp

WP and the Sharks have taken contrasting approaches to the Currie Cup with Province favouring continuity and the Sharks opting for squad rotation.

Western Province and the Sharks have taken contrasting approaches to the Currie Cup with Province favouring continuity and the Sharks opting for a squad rotation policy.

The respective teams selected for this weekend's clash between the coastal outfits at Newlands illustrate this quite well, with the Sharks making five changes to the team that beat the Blue Bulls last week and WP switching just their scrumhalves.

Sharks captain Jacques Botes says that he and his teammates have embraced new Director of Rugby Brendan Venter's rotation system as it encourages competition in the squad whilst ensuring that everyone gets a chance to impress.

Things in Cape Town could not be more different, with Province coach Allister Coetzee keeping as much consistency in selection as possible in order to give his side a chance to build momentum.

When asked by this website what he thinks of the Sharks' selection policy, Coetzee declined to comment and instead explained that he has complete faith in the value of continuity as his side look for an 80-minute performance on Saturday.

"Whatever they are doing there they think it is working for them so all good. I have got my own ways of doing things and we are really satisfied with where we are.

"With our continuity that we are keeping every week I would like to see us put two halves together and come and play in the second half with the same intent - that is what we have been working on the whole week, making sure that we get that right," said Coetzee.

The selection of Louis Schreuder ahead of Nic Groom at scrumhalf this weekend is a tactical one as Coetzee is expecting the Sharks to bring a disciplined kicking game to Newlands which he feels that Schreuder is better equipped to deal with.

"Looking at the way that the game will be played this weekend Schreuder will be covering a lot of kicking space at the back and he has got a good boot on him therefore he is back and starting again," he said.

Coetzee said that the changes in the Sharks backline, with Butch James and Tim Whitehead preferred ahead of Fred Zeilinga and Heimar Williams, show that the visitors appreciate the need for experience when taking on the defending champions on their home track.

"Newlands is quite an intimidating field and coming here is not always easy. I also notice that Tim Whitehead is playing and the youngster Heimar Williams is out.

"With Butch in and the other 10 [Fred Zeilinga] out it shows that they are coming with an experienced side and they want to make sure that they have a team with the power and physicality to play against Province which I can understand," he said.

However, the same cannot be said for the changes the Sharks have made to their front row, with inexperienced props Danie Mienie and Rayno Gerber getting an opportunity, which Coetzee believes may be a reaction to their poor scrummaging performance against the Bulls last week.

"I suppose they weren't happy with the way their scrums went against the Bulls, and I suppose that is why they made those changes.

"I am fortunate that we have been able to keep continuity within our team and we have learned every week and improved at scrum-time. Last week we were happy with the way we scrummed so it is important to keep the continuity," he said.

Although he might favour a different selection policy, Coetzee knows that the table-topping Sharks will be a tough prospect as his team look to continue their unbeaten run in the competition.

"We are playing the log-leaders in the last game of the first round and we just want to make sure that we are accurate in what we are doing.

"I am very happy with our preparation and the intent we showed against the Lions with ball in hand and defensively we have been strong so it is going to be a tough game this weekend once again," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Sharks v Bulls 10 | 40
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26