Province to play to their strengths

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says that he plans to tell his team to “play to their strengths” in Saturday’s big  Currie Cup  derby against Boland in Wellington.

Province were far from impressive in the first half against Griquas in Kimberley on Friday and were 20-10 behind at the break.

However some inspired attacking play, particularly in the last 15 minutes, saw WP get to within five points of Griquas at 30-25.

The comeback was left too late though, and Griquas fullback Riaan Viljoen slotted a long-range drop goal to seal the win for the Currie Cup log-leaders.

WP kicked possession away aimlessly in the first half with the wind behind their backs, and this gave Griquas enough ball to hit back.

But Coetzee told the Cape Times on Monday that his team would not make the same mistakes against Boland.

“We were just our own enemies again in Kimberley,” he said.

“The way we played in the last 30 minutes against Griquas is the way forward for us. We scored some fantastic tries and retained possession superbly. There was good phase-play, we held on to the ball brilliantly and we played excellently.

“So that is the positive we would like to take out of the Griquas game, and that is how we must play against Boland. The guys are happy that they have moved on from Kimberley.”

Flyhalf Peter Grant was one of the main victims of WP’s conservative territory game. Grant tried his best to kick WP into Griquas’ half, but struggled with his accuracy at times. But that is not his natural game, as he is a great attacker and enjoys keeping the ball in hand.

Gio Aplon was another player who was not brought into the game in the first 50 minutes. He was out of position at left wing and saw very little of the action, but when he moved to fullback in the second half for Joe Pietersen, Aplon provided WP with some much-needed firepower from the back.

Coetzee acknowledged the point, and said that WP would try to make good use of any particular strength.

“The wind was behind us in the first half, and it was a hard field where the ball bounces a lot, so there was a danger for us with the kicking game,” he told the Cape Times.

“And we didn’t execute our kicks well. Maybe we are spoilt by Willem de Waal’s boot.

“But maybe we should also play to the strengths of the guys we have. We had Peter at flyhalf, and we know that he is a natural attacking player. So we have discussed it, and the guys are happy that we go that route.”

WP lost 15-10 to Boland in Wellington in 2007, and won a hard-fought battle in the mud with their Springboks 23-7 last year. This time Coetzee won’t have Boks Andries Bekker, Ricky Januarie, Jean de Villiers and the suspended Schalk Burger available, but the field should be in better condition.

The Boks held a coaching clinic there last week, and the field was in a good state. “Well, that’s good news,” Coetzee said about the field.

“But we know where we went wrong against Griquas and it will be another mental challenge.


“Boland in Wellington is always tough, and we know that they will always be up for a game against us.”

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