Possession gold in Cup final
Andries Bekker - Still on the sidelines.
Cape Town – Forget about aimless kicking in Saturday’s Currie Cup final because possession will be gold for both the Sharks and Western Povince.
The Sharks showed that in their approach against the Blue Bulls in their semifinal, while WP will travel to Durban knowing that giving away turnover possession can kill off their final dream.
“With the new interpretation of the laws, the team that keeps possession will have a chance of forcing penalties and scoring points,” said WP coach Allister Coetzee.
“You will be punished if you give away possession unnecessarily. The All Blacks’ style of play is based on keeping possession through phases.
“It’s important to make the right decisions in the right areas of the field. There is also a time and place for grubbers and aerial kicks. There is more than one way to play the game.”
Keegan Daniel’s try as early as the second minute against the Bulls was a good example of the Sharks’ ability to take the ball through phases effectively.
On Saturday, however, the Sharks will be up against the best defensive team in the country.
Coetzee is likely to pick the same 22 as the one that beat Free State in the semifinal.
Province did not pick up any injuries, though none of Andries Bekker, Tiaan Liebenberg or Wicus Blaauw will be available.
Bekker had his first field session since recovering from surgery to his back, but according to Coetzee it’s still too early to even consider him for the Springboks’ tour of Britain and Ireland.
“We had most of our video sessions last week and now it’s all about implementing the game plan,” said Coetzee.
“We won’t do much different than before. It’s just important to make sure that each guy understands his role in the game plan. There is a lot of pressure.”
Notwithstanding the pressure, the coach spoke about the “excitement” among his players.
“The players realise the importance of the competition and winning it. It’s not much to ask of them to switch on this week. The final is something to look forward to. It’s a special opportunity that many players never get. It can be a one-off experience for a player.”
For WP veterans Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers it will be a particularly special day.
These two gifted players have won winner’s medals in the World Cup and Tri-Nations, but have not drank champagne from the Currie Cup.
“It’s a big moment for every player that gets the opportunity, but that should not lead to more pressure. It’s a nice challenge that should motivate the players and make them even hungrier for success,” said Coetzee.