Cape Town - His team got a big fright in the opening half
against the Pumas, but coach John Dobson was a happy man in the aftermath of Western
Province's comprehensive 50-19 win at Newlands on Saturday.
The defending Currie Cup champions found themselves trailing
by 19-15 at half-time, before scoring five tries in the second half and also
keeping the Pumas scoreless for the entire second period.
“I knew it would take over 40 minutes to get into the game,
but I certainly didn’t expect us to be so bad in the first half,” admitted
Dobson afterwards, his team finishing with seven tries on the day after an
excellent second-half display.
“What was really disappointing was how our lineout
malfunctioned. We’ve been around 90% all season long (with our lineout) and
that really cost us in the first half.
“Our tackling was also poor… it was a really poor first-half
effort. You expect to subdue a team, as we knew we had to do today against a
good Pumas side, but we weren’t putting them under any pressure in order to
“I knew this would be a threat to us, after the highs of
last week, and it took a real conversation at half-time to get them to respond
and we saw a very different team out there in the second half.”
Their slow start aside, Dobson believes the WP class of 2015
is heading in the right direction as the business-end of the Currie Cup draws
“The Pumas said beforehand how they needed to win this one
to stay in semi-final contention, so there was an element of desperation from
them… but, that said, it still does not excuse our first-half performance,” he
told the WP Rugby website.
“I thought it was much worse than that first half against
the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, (only) then we made some silly errors to make it
look even worse. We finished the game poorly and I was a bit irritated by that.
I don’t want to be overly-critical, but with our second-half dominance we could
perhaps have gotten even more out of the game in the end.
“But, on the whole, I think we’re building and growing (as a
team)… that’s exciting for me. (And) I think we will be up for it even more
next week against the Lions - a crucial game for us in terms of the overall log
and that fight for a home semi-final.”
WP picked up this win, their sixth of the season, without
late injury-withdrawal Chris Cloete, as well as the likes of Scarra Ntubeni,
Steven Kitshoff, Rynhardt Elstadt, Chris Cloete, Kurt Coleman, Juan de Jongh
and Cheslin Kolbe.
“If you take our second-half performance and add in a Steven
Kitshoff, Rynhardt Elstadt, Chris Cloete, Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe… it’s
quite a bit of quality to add into the group so that’s exciting,” said Dobson.
“We have a few selection issues, most notably at loose
forward and our back three, but I guess those are nice headaches to have.”
Starting scrumhalf - and try-scorer - Jano Vermaak limped
off near the end of the first half with a tight groin, but Dobson will issue
his usual injury report on Monday ahead of next Friday’s massive clash against
the Golden Lions in Johannesburg (18:00 kick-off).