Western Province have it all to do in the Currie Cup

Unlike the Stormers’ failed Super 14 venture, which posed multiple permutations ahead of their kick-off against the Lions in Johannesburg earlier this year, Western Province’s Currie Cup play-offs fate will not rest on the outcome of other matches in this weekend’s final round of matches.

“It’s up to us,” said Allister Coetzee, the Western Province coach said on Monday. “We know that if we want to reach the play-offs, we must win with a bonus point as well as secure a winning margin of 19 or more points.”

Many of the Stormers players will be running out for Western Province at Newlands against the Lions on Saturday and in the run-in to Saturday’s match they will painfully recall that although they ended up 22-13 winners on May 17 at Coca-Cola Park, they failed to score a fourth try against the weakest side in the 2008 competition, and as a result lost out on a Super 14 play-off place.

This time Western Province’s task will be significantly more difficult as the Lions are one of the form teams in the Currie Cup and it will be a monumental ask to expect them to defeat the Lions by a margin of 19 points or more.

And it goes without saying that Western Province must also ensure that the Lions do not score more than three tries. “A big ask yes, but certainly not impossible and a target we will certainly be having a crack at,” said Coetzee.

“We know what we need to do and on our home ground with the Newlands faithful behind us, the team will be very fired up to achieve.”

Western Province would have had an easier route to the play-offs but they failed to collect a bonus point in their 23-7 win over Boland in Wellington on Saturday.

On paper Western Province have the look of champions, and there is a strong belief in their camp that the task is not beyond them especially as their team will be significantly boosted by the return of skipper Jean de Villiers, strongman Brian Mujati, workhorse Adriaan Fondse and the newly-married Ricky Januarie.

Western Province flyhalf Peter Grant did not participate in Monday’s training session, which was held in pouring rain. Grant took a knock on his ankle against Boland but Coetzee is confident that his pivot will return to training on Tuesday.

Springbok fullback Percy Montgomery has been training with the Western Province side but has not been used to date.

Coetzee said that the Springtbok points machine will come into the reckoning for the game on Saturday, when he’s likely to play off the bench “We are definitely thinking along those lines,” said Coetzee.

“Monty may not start, but we are considering using him in the 22. He’s settled now and he knows all the plays,” said the Western Province coach.

Sapa – CurrieCupRugby.com

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