Province embrace the pressure
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Western Province head coach John Dobson said his players are ready to fight for their place in the Currie Cup Premier Division play-offs.
Province are in sixth position on the standings after two wins and three losses from their five games. They have set themselves the target of getting a maximum of 15 points from their remaining three games against the Pumas, Griquas and Boland to reach the play-offs.
Despite the pressure weighing down on them, especially after their 32-58 loss against the Golden Lions last weekend, Dobson is encouraged by the attitude of his players heading into their Round Seven encounter against the Pumas.
"We are under pressure, but I think the guys are very keen," Dobson told reporters at Newlands.
"Sometimes teams fold and sometimes they stand up and try and prove people wrong and there is no doubt that [the latter] is the decision they [players] made."
Defence is one area Province will be hoping to improve on after they conceded eight tries in Johannesburg. However, Dobson has also pinpointed his team's accuracy on attack and their driving maul as areas they need to focus on as well.
"With our attack, we felt we worked very hard for those tries against the Lions and the work rate of the pack was not really good enough in the [Lions] 22," said Dobson.
"In that whole game the Lions spent three minutes in our 22 and they got eight tries. We spent close to seven minutes in their 22 for our [four] tries. I don't think our system and work rate was good enough in their 22.
He added: "We have always been a good mauling team for the last six or seven years. We got two maul penalties against the Lions and we got them on the back foot a couple of time, but it was still not our standard."
The Pumas are still without a win in this year's tournament and are sitting in eighth place on the standings with five bonus points.
Despite the Nelspruit team's record, Dobson knows that they will provide his team with a big challenge on Saturday.
"I expected more from them [Pumas] to be honest. They are a good outfit and it is very professional up there [in Nelspruit].
"They were very unlucky against Griquas and against Boland, so they are better team than where they are now.
"We played up there in the Currie Cup qualifiers and we won it, but we had a very hard game against them. They are very big and physical and they are a very similar team to the one that won the Vodacom Cup last year," Dobson added.