Memorable win for WP coach
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Western Province coach Allister Coetzee described his team's 21-16 Currie Cup semi-final victory over the Golden Lions as one of the best he had experienced during his tenure.
"What stood out was the character in the side, the way they stayed connected throughout the game, and the way they never gave up," Coetzee said.
"It shows there is a refusal to be defeated in the side and it is something that makes me so proud."
The Capetonians showed immense temperament, snatching victory on the full-time whistle through a mammoth driving maul.
"It was a fantastic win, but one can't get carried away while there is still one more game to go," he said.
"Especially here at Coca Cola-Park which is a first for me in Currie Cup."
The Province mentor hailed the character shown by his charges after the match looked to be lost with two minutes left on the clock.
The visitors then set up a driving maul, more than 15m from the line, with No 8 Duane Vermeulen scoring from the back to secure a final berth against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.
Coetzee conceded his side had some luck on their side as the Lions failed to convert four of their penalty attempts.
Province's performance was far from polished, he admitted, but converted their opportunities to go away with the spoils.
"The Lions could have led at half-time and it was a poor performance from us in the first 30 minutes, but we regrouped at half-time and we stayed in the moment," Coetzee said.
"We got the sniff in the latter stages of the second half where we found space and we started to attack with width."
Coetzee said Province would keep the champagne on ice as they faced an uphill battle against the Sharks, who beat the Blue Bulls 20-3 in Durban earlier on Saturday.
"We are playing against the best side in South Africa next weekend - the Sharks are an unbelievable side," he said.
"To hold out the Bulls to get only three points is quite telling."
He said it would take an extraordinary effort by his team to beat the Durbanites in their own backyard.
"We will need probably all 22 players to be on the field at the same time," Coetzee joked.
Province's victory in the semi-final capped a superb day for the union as their junior teams also advanced to the finals of their respective competitions.
WP's Under-21s beat the Sharks 19-18 in Durban, while their Under-19s beat the Lions 24-14.
"It is just a proud moment for Western Province rugby, all three of our sides have gone through to finals - the Under-19s won at home, the Under-21s have gone to final and now the Currie Cup side," he said.