WP fully focused on Griquas

Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:26
Large coetzee wp.jpg630 Large bulls props630 Large bulls v wp

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says Friday’s game against Griquas at Newlands is “more important” than last weekend’s north-south derby.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says Friday’s game against Griquas at Newlands is “more important” than last weekend’s north-south derby.

It’s a clash between the unbeaten table toppers and the wooden spoonists, but Coetzee considers it as a crucial, must-win encounter.

“Going to Loftus and winning is great but this next home game is more important,” Coetzee said on Monday.

“We’re at Newlands, it’s an evening game and it might be wet, so there are different challenges and I want us to be accurate.”

Western Province are in high spirits after their 29-18 win over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend. It was the visitors’ first victory at Loftus Versfeld in seven years, and was achieved with 14 men after Michael Rhodes was sent off for foul play in the first half.

Coetzee said it was a memorable win but was quick to add that they’ve put it behind them and are fully focused on Griquas.   

“The seven-year drought at Loftus was a big motivation for us. We weren’t going to die wondering. De Kock [Steenkamp] led by example and the whole team followed,” said Coetzee of the courageous win.

“There’s a quiet confidence in the team - not an arrogant confidence - because this competition is far from over. We have Griquas at home and you don’t want to be remembered as the team who won at Loftus one week and lost to the next team at home the following week.

“We enjoyed the win as a team on Saturday night but our focus has shifted to Griquas for this weekend. A lot of people thought the Sharks would win comfortably and they won by one point [25-24 in Kimberley]. This is a good Griquas side which we have to respect and prepare well for and we’re on track.”

Coetzee called for his team to build on their recent performances and highlighted the line-out as an area in which he wanted to see vast improvement

“It’s important that we keep playing like we’re playing - with intent. When we ran with the ball, there was great punch and pace on the ball and our breakdown has been good. We’ve done a lot of good work and the trick is to reproduce, but we have to improve our line-outs.”

Coetzee dismissed suggestions that his team have adopted a more expansive approach this season and said the point of difference has been their decision-making on turnover ball.

He added that 19-year-old Cheslin Kolbe, August’s Currie Cup Player of the Month, has made a major difference to their attacking game in his maiden campaign.

“We see turnover [play] as important as the set-piece. The decisions that the players make once the ball is turned over have been excellent. We also had far fewer soft moments [against the Blue Bulls], which was pleasing,” he said.

“We’re playing more or less the same. We use our good defence to get turnovers and try to find a balance between when to kick and when to run. It’s not a magical plan; it’s all about making better decisions.

“One should not underestimate Kolbe’s influence. He might be small but he keeps the ball alive and it takes two or three players to get him, so that’s been a big plus for us,” he added.

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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
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