Trophy-less WP hurting
Cape Town - If success is measured against the number of trophies won, Western Province rugby has failed, senior professional coach Rassie Erasmus said on Monday.
Click to BUY the Great moments in Currie Cup history DVD
"If one measures success by trophies, then we were not successful," he told reporters in Cape Town.
"In two seasons now we just couldn't get over the last hurdle. I'm taking it on the chin."
Province last won the Currie Cup in 2001. But Erasmus, who served as the Springboks' World Cup technical consultant, said Province had been creating a winning habit.
"We created a winning habit by getting into Super Rugby and Currie Cup semi-finals and finals. I won't say we are going backward."
Western Province, by virtue of being the biggest union the country, have by far the biggest pool of players, from the junior to the senior ranks.
In the past decade, WP teams have won numerous age-group events, national club championships and university tournaments, but have failed to win any of the prestigious tournaments such as Currie Cup or Super Rugby.
Currie Cup coach Allister Coetzee said he and the players were "hurting" after they were dumped out of the competition by the Golden Lions at the weekend.
"We're all hurting, not only the team management but the player group as well. But the match against the Lions didn't go as planned," Coetzee said.
"I know people will point out that we had all those Springboks back, but as you saw the presence of Springboks don't guarantee success. It's a setback, but I'm still confident in the future. There's been a big improvement in terms of developing leadership and the mix of players.
"I'm under contract at Western Province until the end of 2012 and still want to win silverware with this team."
Erasmus confirmed that Springbok centre Jaque Fourie will join Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights. Fourie will start playing in Japan from November and will remain there until the end of the season, which could be around March, depending on if the Knights reach the playoffs.
Fourie will then return to the Stormers for Super Rugby duty, along with flyhalf Peter Grant who is also playing in Japan.
Apart from Gerhard van den Heever, the Blue Bulls utility back, Province have not made any other signings, but are still in the process of talking to Joe Pietersen who they released to French club Bayonne last year.