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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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1