WP need Bok guns to fire
WP need Bok guns to fireSHARE
Western Province need their Boks to make the difference when they attempt to turn the Currie Cup tide against the Lions on Saturday.
The Cape side cruised to a comfortable victory over the Cheetahs at Newlands to set up a second consecutive semifinal in Johannesburg, but lost their way in the final quarter once their Springboks were replaced which underlined how important they will be this weekend.
Coach Allister Coetzee said that the experience that the Boks bring to his team will be crucial when they seek revenge over the Lions who knocked them out last year and then did the season double over them this season.
"The big thing that stood out for me tonight is that when there is pressure, the youngsters make a lot of mistakes. We spoke about our error-rate and turnover count, again it is not criticising them but if you look at how many mistakes the international players made compared to the others then you get a clear picture.
"It is important in knock-out games to cut those mistakes and I think with these okes (Springboks) today it helped a lot and hopefully we can take that forward," he said.
The Province boss added that whilst the performance against the Cheetahs was encouraging, they know they will have to be more accurate this weekend if they want to progress to the final.
"Here and there we lacked a bit of accuracy and composure on attack, we needed to build one more phase and we could have walked over for the next one. Also making sure that we exit well and get out of our own half efficiently at times," he explained.
Captain Jean de Villiers said that although the five-try victory over the Cheetahs had been a confidence-booster ahead of the play-offs, they know that they will be up against a tough Lions team that have become Currie Cup specialists in the last few years.
"We will be up against a team next week that has really been performing well in the Currie Cup. The Lions have shown that they are good at Currie Cup, they are like the Cheetahs a few years ago – they know how to play Currie Cup and they know how to win Currie Cup.
"It will be a tough battle up there, we made the mistake last year and we didn't get the result so we know it is going to be tough but it is a challenge that we are looking forward to," he said.
The Province skipper added that he is confident that they will not fall into the same trap as last year when the World Cup disappointment caught up with the players who delivered a flat performance in the Johannesburg semifinal.
"It is about learning from the past and the mistakes we made in the past, it probably was a bit different last year when we got knocked out of the World Cup and then came back to Province to play in the Currie Cup.
"Then it was tough in that second week when the World Cup and everything comes back to you and everything becomes reality again and your body feels tired.
"It is a totally different situation and some of the guys didn't train all week so we have had the adequate rest that was needed. I don't think you will ever have a problem motivating the guys to play in a semifinal and the drive is still here within the squad to perform and it is great to still be in the competition at this stage," he said.
The only new injury concern for Province is lock Andries Bekker who hurt his toe, but Coetzee said that it is not likely to be serious.
"He looks OK but he is going for xrays on his toe, someone probably stood on his toe so hopefully it is not that serious."
By Michael de Vries, at Newlands