Province to tighten up Currie Cup defence

The highly-rated Western Province defence was uncharacteristically leaky against Griquas last Saturday, but that will not be the case this weekend when the Leopards make their Currie Cup appearance at Newlands.

The young guns from Western Province were blown away by Griquas’ spirited start, which produced 15 points in the opening 17 minutes.

However, the Province rookies regained their composure and showed character as they clawed their way back into the match to win 41-35.

Province head coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday evening that he was not surprised by the fighting spirit in the ranks.

“It was something that we spoke about in the pre-match pep talk and the fight kicked in after that 15-point setback,” said Coetzee. “I made it clear to the side that when you come to a place like Kimberley you have to be ready for a fight, that’s how it turned out.

“In those opening minutes, the youngsters just could not get our hands on the ball.”

Coetzee said his youthful side had shown an all-round improvement especially in the set-pieces.

His major concern was the side’s defence which leaked five tries.

Despite that statistic, Province still have the best defence in the competition.

Coetzee said the defence would receive great attention at training this week so that it would be rock solid for the Leopards’ visit this week.

“We’ve got to tighten up this week and we’ll work on the defence structures,” he said.

“Defence is something that we pride ourselves on and it’s not good enough that we conceded five tries.

“We also gave away soft penalties, and its something that we have to remedy.

“But since both teams are attack-minded it is bound to happen that defence will suffer a few hits.”

Demetri Catrakilis, the Currie Cup’s latest ‘Player-of-the-Month’ award winner injured his upper arm against Griquas and will undergo intensive tests to determine the extent of the injury.

He is presently the competition’s second highest points scorer behind the Sharks’ Frederic Michalak.

Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage is the likely stand-in should Catrakilis be declared unfit.

Loose forward Nizaam Carr played a blinder when he joined the fray as a substitute and that cavalier display could well land him a place in this weekend’s starting line-up.

“Carr made a big difference when he came off the bench, just like an impact player should,” said Coetzee.

“We’ve got to ease him into the senior ranks rather than just throw him to the wolves.”

Province flank Siya Kolisi should return to action this week after an injury lay-off.

Hooker Deon Fourie said his nose had healed well after being fractured three weeks ago and he would be available for selection this week.

The Leopards, with a sole win after eight rounds, are propping up the Currie Cup standings and are the only side as yet to concede more than 300 points since the start of the competition.

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