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
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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