WP's Boks are over Durban trauma

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 05:40

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Western Province head coach John Dobson believes his two returning Springboks are in the right frame of mind for their Currie Cup Premier Division semifinal against the Blue Bulls on Saturday.

Centre Juan de Jongh and hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi were part of the South African team who suffered a record 15-57 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in the final round of the Rugby Championship last week.

De Jongh, who started that match, had a poor performance, but Dobson told reporters at Newlands that the 28-year-old has put it behind him and he was ready, physically and mentally, to help Province beat their old foes at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.   

"He [De Jongh] was a bit ginger on Monday with a contusion to his calf," said Dobson. "He did not train Monday and he sat out Tuesday as well, but if you saw him today [Thursday] he was brilliant. 

"The thing about him he is a strong fellow - he is keen to play. Mentally he is brilliant, we tried to give him as much space on Monday and Tuesday because I think that loss against All Blacks] was a pretty traumatic afternoon and to be back in Bellville on a Monday was tricky.

"Bongi [Mbongeni Mbonambi] was different because he has not played as much. Bongi comes from the Bulls and he could not wait, but Juan has been buzzing around."

Province battled to make the play-offs this year, but Dobson feels that his team is better prepared than what they were at the same stage last season.

"The perception is that last year's season was better. We took a smack at Ellis park and at Loftus last year like we did this year and a lot of our season has been clouded by that Boland performance.

"I feel we are in a better space, we are better organised. I think we are better off terms of our own belief and organisation and plans than where we were for last year's semi [also against the Bulls].

Western Province will advance to their fifth consecutive Final if they beat the Blue Bulls on Saturday. The match is also the third straight semifinal between the two teams, with Province winning the last two 23-18 and 31-23.

By Warren Fortune

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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