Johannesburg - Western Province captain Deon Fourie has praised his side for closing a half-time deficit to beat the Free State Cheetahs 29-22 in their Currie Cup encounter in the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cape Town-based side travelled to Bloemfontein on the back of some good momentum after they thrashed the Blue Bulls 42-6 last weekend. And after coach Allister Coetzee asked his side to produce the goods, the visitors did just that.
They trailed 19-13 at the break after the Cheetahs winger Nico Scheepers kicked a couple of good penalties, but Province showed real prowess in the second stanza to take the lead and ultimately the game, something Fourie lauded his side for.
"I am very proud of the team. We knew it would be difficult in Bloemfontein, but the guys pulled through and proved their worth. The victory over the Cheetahs really means a lot," Fourie said.
Western Province closed the weekend as the leaders in the competition, but they find themselves on 15 points, just like the Lions and Sharks, with only points difference ensuring they end the first round of the competition as top of the standings.
They now have to travel to Durban to take on the Sharks, and still need to remedy some aspects of their play before their next outing. "There were some silly mistakes, no doubt. We need to have a look and rectify them before travelling to Durban. The Sharks is another big game for us. They always come with a bang and we will have to be at our best," Fourie added.
Cheetahs captain and centre Robert Ebersohn's side was again on the receiving end after they came up short last weekend against the Sharks. The Cheetahs failed to play the full 80 minutes, something that is starting to become a real problem for the Bloemfontein-based side.
"Obviously we are very disappointed. We couldn't produce the goods against the Sharks and now we came up short against Province as well. We wanted to give our home crowd a victory. We wanted to make it right, but we couldn't. It is very disappointing," Ebersohn said.
The home side led at the break, but squandered their lead and now find themselves in the fourth position on the standings, just one point in front of Griquas. "We did pretty well in the first half, even though we didn't start well from the kick-off. We ended the first 40 minutes in a good spot and needed to take it from there, but we didn't. Province defended pretty good too, so all credit to them.
"We now must focus on taking on the Lions here at home. We owe them one and what better place them Bloemfontein to pay our dues," Ebersohn added.