Province in knockout mode

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:34
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Western Province head coach John Dobson knows that his team will have to beat the Golden Lions if they are to have any chance of making this year's Currie Cup Premier Division play-offs.

Both teams have won two games and lost two games so far this season and both have 12 points after five rounds. However, the Lions (fifth) are one place above Province (sixth) by way of having a superior points differential.

Province started their campaign with losses to the Blue Bulls and the Free State Cheetahs, before finally getting a victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Round Four.

Their 34-27 win over the Sharks last weekend has been their best showing in the competition so far.

"We need to beat the Lions," Dobson told reporters at the team's High Performance Centre in Bellville.

"At the moment if you look at the log it is us versus the Lions playing for that fourth spot. 

"Having said that, if we win it and keep going well we could end up quite a bit higher. But when you play head to head there is obviously and eight to 10-point turnaround on that game.

"If we win this week we will get a semi."

Province's victory over the Sharks did come at a cost with hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni suffering a torn achilles tendon and being ruled out of action for six to nine months.

Loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe will be out of action for between three to four weeks after injuring his ankle in that same game.

Province also without the likes of Huw Jones, Daniel du Plessis and prop Oliver Kebble for their trip to Johannesburg.

Despite all the injury woes, wing Leolin Zas feels that they have enough firepower to beat a "weak" Lions team.

"That game [against the Sharks] gave us a lot of confidence," said Zas. "We are happy and confident now after that win and we think we can beat the Lions.

"This is our best chance to beat a Lions team. They are not as good as when they were playing in Super Rugby - they are a little bit weaker now than when they were playing in Super Rugby, so we feel that we take them.

"Confidence is a big thing and I think we have it now. It is not nice to go and play in Johannesburg with the altitude. Personally, it is the worst place for me to play, but we are excited and we are ready for Friday."

@rugby365com

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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