Province are not 'powder-puff'
Province are not 'powder-puff'SHARE
One team lost their first match of the season. The other team lost their last match of the season. Guess who are the champions?
Western Province, unbeaten throughout the season, were left to reflect on a miserable Currie Cup Final in which they were outfoxed by a masterful Sharks team.
The Sharks were crowned the 2013 Currie Cup champions following their 33-19 win over Province at Newlands at the weekend.
WP, the defending champions, went into the Final as outright favourite – unbeaten and having beaten the Sharks twice in league action, including the final round of the regular season.
However, despite stumbling at the final hurdle, WP coach Allister Coetzee – as bitterly disappointed as he was – remained adamant his team had a good season and made progress in certain key areas.
"I am still very pleased with our season," an unyielding Coetzee said, adding: "It was our first loss for the season.
"One loss doesn't make you a bad team."
Coetzee felt that they have made real progress in terms of their attack and have struck a good balance in the way they want to play going forward.
"We weren't allowed to engage with the Sharks and they played smartly," he said of the masterful tactics employed by the Sharks – who used the rush defence and brilliant chip-kicks to keep Province on the back foot and pinned in their own half.
"It is something you will take on board going forward.
"With our solid defence, teams will look to do what they did in this game."
The WP mentor said a lot of players are disappointed in their individual performances.
"We need to deal better with kicks [being put] in behind us. You can do everything in preparation, but on the day if it doesn't work for you, it just doesn't work.
"They placed our halfbacks under pressure and that started at the breakdown. We were chasing the game [after going down 0-10 inside the first 10 minutes] and were put under pressure."
Despite the poor showing in the Final, Coetzee felt there were still plenty of positives to take from their season.
"The young players that came through," the Province mentor said is one of those aspects that will ensure 2013 isn't a complete write-off.
"Cheslin Kolbe again showed he is not out of his depth at this level."
Then there was the improved attacking game of WP.
"This season we didn't just defend," he said, adding: "Our attack improve in leaps and bounds.
"We are beginning to get the balance [between defence and attack] right.
"It is something new, where we have to look at how we will adjust our defence to deal with those kicks in no-man's land.
"We will take it [the loss in the Final] on the chin and we'll be back next year. We are all bitterly disappointed, but it is not the end of the world.
"The Sharks were in the same position last year, and this time they won."
Coetzee also felt it was "fantastic" that veterans Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger could at least play in a Currie Cup Final at Newlands, which they have never done before.
By Jan de Koning