Western Province coach Dobson happy with culture and spirit in the team

John Dobson (Head Coach) during the DHL Western Province press conference at DHL Newlands Stadium on August 29, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
John Dobson (Head Coach) during the DHL Western Province press conference at DHL Newlands Stadium on August 29, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Cape Town – Western Province have made a strong statement of intent in the early stages of the Currie Cup by gaining a maximum 10 points from two games‚ which indicates the title they won last year will have to be prised from their grasp.

Coach John Dobson puts that down to a good culture and spirit in the team.

Last Friday’s 57-28 win over the Pumas in Nelspruit followed a 32-0 thrashing of the Cheetahs at Newlands the week before and WP and the Golden Lions are the only unbeaten teams in the tournament. They clash at Ellis Park in a fortnight.

Dobson has blooded several youngsters in the opening stages of the tournament while also relying on some seasoned Springboks to add experience to the squad.

But he will be without Wilco Louw‚ Damian de Allende and Sikhumbuzo Notshe for the coming two weeks at least as they jetted to Australasia with the Springboks on Saturday.

Losing that seam of talent will test the depth at the union‚ but the coach isn’t concerned.

“Youngsters such as [scrumhalf] Herschel Jantjies and [lock] Ernst van Rhyn really stood up against the Pumas‚” Dobson said.

“And we still have the likes Dan Kriel‚ Chris Massyn‚ JJ Engelbrecht and Salmaan Moerat‚ who will all be nicely rested for Ellis Park.

“The Springboks in the group also really played well and showed great commitment‚ which when you consider they were jumping on a plane to join the Boks for Australia less than 24 hours after the Pumas match‚ shows how good the culture is in this team.”

WP scored eight tries against the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium‚ which is healthy return at a venue where they were defeated last season.

It’s never an easy place to win‚ so Dobson was naturally delighted with the outcome and the performance.

“We were reasonably happy with the performance and the conditions allowed us to play with width and tempo‚” Dobson said.

“We slacked off a bit late in the first half‚ which allowed them two tries.

“But generally I was happy with our breakdown and the speed of play. On the down side we probably didn’t look after the ball as well as we could have at times and our exit play wasn’t as effective as it should have been.

“When you score eight tries you receive nine restarts [counting kick off to one of the halves] and we should have been a little better. But that is something we can fix easily by working on it.

“I was also happy with how we closed the game out‚ although two little mistakes led to late tries for them. We got a bit loose at the end‚ which was probably because the game was won.”

There were no major injury concerns for the team although utility back Craig Barry suffered an ankle injury‚ which is apparently not too serious.

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