Drotské: Pressure is on WP
Bloemfontein – The pressure is squarely on Western Province in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands.
That is the view of Free State coach Naka Drotské. He believes the Cheetahs have nothing to lose as the home side are expected to win the trophy again this year.
“All the pressure is on WP because they have not won the trophy for a long time. Everybody says this is their year. That is definitely an advantage for us,” said the Cheetahs coach.
Capetonians have had to support their team through a lean spell.
Province last won the Currie Cup in 2001, but the Free Staters wore the crown in 2005 and 2007, and shared the trophy with the Blue Bulls in 2006.
Many experts believe a new era has arrived in Cape rugby following the Stormers’ outstanding effort in this year’s Super 14.
Province narrowly lost their Currie Cup semi-final against the Bulls at Newlands last year and won’t want something similar to happen against Free State.
Drotské said that the Cheetahs’ 29-24 win over WP at Newlands earlier this year inspires confidence ahead of the weekend’s match.
He added that it’s pleasing that his side usually performs under pressure.
“The advantage we have is that our players know how to win important games. We have won five out of our last six games in the competition. Province have not managed to get the results that they have wanted in their play-off games in recent years.”
Free State’s win over WP at Newlands has a lot to do with their success in 2010 and gave the players confidence at the beginning of the second round.
Prior to that the Cheetahs had struggled for consistency and lost unnecessarily in the first round against the Sharks in Bloemfontein and against the Lions in Johannesburg.
The Cheetahs are also expected to be well-rested for the match.
Drotské said that his players had had an additional rest day because of their match on Friday. They were also not involved in such a physical clash as WP and the Sharks.